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County retiree still receiving health care benefits

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Judge mum, questions source's motives

By Ben Carlson

Taxpayers could be on the hook to pay thousands of dollars in health insurance premiums for a former county employee who retired last October.

County Clerk Jason Denny confirmed Monday that the employee retired from his office but remains an active employee on the county’s list of workers receiving health care benefits.

Denny said the monthly premium totals around $400, including $125 each month for prescription coverage. Through July, the total would be well over $3,000.

Denny said removing the employee from the list should have been done in the judge-executive’s office.

“When someone retires, I send them to the judge’s office to do all of the paperwork,” Denny said. “They do everything there.”

Judge-Executive Steve Cornish refused to comment on the issue Monday afternoon until it was revealed who alerted The Anderson News to the problem.

“I will answer what I can when you tell me who informed you, and I’m pretty sure that is not going to happen,” Cornish said in an e-mail. “I’m not trying to be difficult, but it is obvious someone from county [government] told you, or someone close to someone in county [government], and I would like to know the motive.”

The Anderson News does not reveal its sources.

The Anderson County Fiscal Court was scheduled to meet Tuesday night, and it was unclear at press time if the issue would surface at that meeting.

Denny said he found out about the problem a week ago from the retiree, whose name is being withheld by The Anderson News.

“The person who retired had received county health insurance information in the mail,” Denny said. “The person called here and questioned it.”

Denny said his office reimburses county government twice each year for employee benefits costs, including health insurance.

“That’s the only time I see that information,” he said, adding that he has yet to see a statement for the period of January to June for those benefits.

Denny said there is a chance that the prescription portion of the premium could be refunded to the county, but the health care portion could be lost.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to get that back,” he said.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.