Retirees of Gregg County will pay more for health insurance next year, but the county also will up its ante.

The Gregg County Commissioners Court increased rates for retirees by 5% during its regular meeting Monday. The county also is increasing its contribution to retirees’ premiums by 5%, and it is increasing its contribution to the overall Health Fund by another 2.5%.

The increases are needed because of ongoing high claims and constraints on the fund, according to the self-funded plan’s consultant, Addison-based McGriff, Seibels and Williams Inc.

For a 60-year-old Gregg County retiree who is single, their annual premium will increase from $1,247.70 to $1,331.14 effective July 1.

Current employees also will begin paying a monthly premium of $50 for medical insurance, compared with the county’s contribution of $1,030.40.

Employees also will be able to increase their contribution to their Flexible Spending Accounts by $100 starting July 1, to $2,750. The IRS increased this election this year, Human Resources Director Rita Fyffe said.

Commissioners decided Monday to continue contributing to employees’ retirement fund at a rate of 11.86%, rather than follow the state’s minimum required rate of 11.44%.

County Auditor Laurie Woloszyn recommended keeping the 11.86% rate with no changes to the plan. Gregg County’s pension fund is 92% funded.

“Due to recent events and market conditions, this will help to lower future projections of rate increases,” she said.

Jimmy Daniell Isaac covers the city of Longview and Gregg County. Follow him on Twitter: @jimmyisaaclives.