When Lansing Mayor David Hollister informed council members about the $700,000 budget deficit they face this fiscal year, one of the things he pointed out was the 25 percent increase in health insurance rates. It's the largest increase the city has seen in four years.
"This is not unique to the city. Look at what Sparrow and Blue Cross went through. These costs are out of site and we have no national policy. So we're wrestling with it as best we can so it's really a big problem for local government," said David Hollister, Lansing mayor.
A health insurance rate increase was something the mayor had predicted, but the increase was a lot higher than he expected. He and the other council members also predict it's a problem that won't go away in the near future.
"Healthcare insurance is very high. All employees are facing hefty increases in health insurance premiums and it's one of the major things that public and private sector employees will be wrestling with," said Bob Swanson, city of Lansing.
Council members are discussing ways to deal with inflating costs. They're looking at increasing deductible and co-pays but they say the general rates of health care have exceeded their strategies. They say the problem can't be solved only on a state level, but on a national level too.