Insurance facts seek to set record straight


With your editorial ”Start a riot over Heltzel comment,” you continue your record of suspect journalism and a disregard, or at least ignorance, of the facts. Either way, you do a disservice to your readers and your duty to integrate facts with your opinions. Without facts, your opinions have the value of a used, wet teabag – to use your example.

To correct your editorial, give it a second chance with these facts:

1. Trumbull County was one of the first, if not the first, government entity in the Mahoning Valley to require employees to pay a portion of their health costs into an insurance reserve fund commencing more than 11 years ago.

2. Except for stop-loss protections, the county health insurance doesn’t involve ”premiums” it is a partially self-funded program that was started in 2002 for employees insured under MMO and which, in 2008, became a countywide self-funded program and has saved taxpayers several hundred thousand dollars.

3. Trumbull County participates in a contract for health care services with an independent company and does not pay premiums. Your tea analogy belies your misunderstanding of the nature of the delivery of healthcare benefits of Trumbull County.

4. The county has a reserve fund similar in some respects to what insurance companies have. The reserve fund is composed of contributions from both the county and employees. In 2012, there were several large claims upon the reserve fund caused by individuals’ serious illnesses. At the recommendation of our health care adviser, we increased the employee contributions to cover those claims. However, it was not necessary to recover all of the increase in one year due to the previous payments made to the reserve fund. Our underwriter provided cost estimates on certain large claims that may be continuing, the impact of new fees that are being levied under the Affordable Care Act, underwriting estimates of overall claim cost inflation, the actual claims of the county over the past several years, and the current funding status of the county’s reserve fund.

If you follow this, you will see that a portion of the funds – which you characterize as the generosity of the county – were funds already in the reserve and paid by the employees.

Paul Heltzel,


Heltzel is a Trumbull County