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Worcester County looks to avoid possible funding woes

Worcester County looks to avoid...

WORCESTER COUNTY, Md. - Worcester county officials say there could be a problem with a fund used to pay for healthcare costs for school employees.

Financial leaders in the county say there's not enough money in the trust to keep up with healthcare and medication payments and they want county commissioners to be aware. 

Now the County is are looking to fix the problem before it becomes an issue.

County financial leaders are asking the Worcester County Commission to look at ways to address a shortfall they see coming down the pipeline. 

The shortfall is expected within the next six to eight years in the Other Post-Employment Benefits trust. 

Already, school employees, like Beth Shockley-Lynch, say they are willing to work with the county to find a solution. 

"Our health plan is still very good. Even with the tweaks we've had to make along the way. the association sits on the county commission health advisory and we all sit together and work out what we think is the best change we can make."

Financial leaders, like Phil Thompson, say the one of the biggest challenges the fund faces is the instability of healthcare costs. 

"We've done some projections on that. The bottom line on this is that there are a lot of very large variables that are out-standing. Certainly health care in the country and what's happening in nationwide trends."

Shockley says members of the Teacher's association have witnessed those fluctuations in the past and have seen a difference in their take-home pay.

"Over time the cost of healthcare has gone up and because of that the employee has had to absorb more of the cost and there have been changes in theri benefit package as a result of them." 

County financial officials say the shortfall will not affect anyone right now, but if the county doesn't find a way to contribute more to the fund, there could be a problem in the future. 

"I think the commissioners have been proactive over the last ten years and I think its served us very well however there are certain items that are out of our control."

There is almost $67 million  in the fund right now, but to make all the projected payments over the next 30 years, something will need to change.

 


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