FOREST CITY | Winnebago County will be accepting bids from brokers for health insurance plans offered to its employees.

The county currently is part of the Iowa Governmental Health Care Plan. The Two Rivers Insurance Company has agreements with cities and counties in the IGHCP to administer Wellmark insurance plans for their employees.

In August, the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors accepted a $5,712 settlement from the Two Rivers Insurance Company as restitution for undisclosed fees.

The Iowa Insurance Division negotiated the settlement with Two Rivers to end an investigation into the Burlington-based company's practices when dealing with 33 counties, cities and other public entities.

The settlement amount of $1.3 million was distributed among those entities, all of them former or current members of the Iowa Governmental Health Care Plan.

In April, the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 to renew its contract with Two Rivers. 

Supervisor Mike Stensrud cast the lone dissenting vote. 

At that time, the Iowa Insurance Division was still investigating Two Rivers.

The other two supervisors, Terry Durby and Bill Jensvold, said the county needed more time to research other insurance options. 

At their Dec. 19 meeting, the supervisors decided to seek bids from brokers to administer the county's insurance plan for its employees. 

Insurance agents usually represent only one company, while brokers represent multiple insurance companies. 

Stensrud said there are fewer insurance brokers than insurance agents. 

Limiting the bidding to brokers "weeds out" a lot of agencies and makes for a cleaner process, he said.

Those who are interested in bidding are asked to contact County Auditor Karla Weiss at 641-585-3412 or Karla.Weiss@winnebagocountyiowa.gov by Jan. 10.

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