WEST BURLINGTON — West Burlington City Council picked a new healthcare plan for city employees Wednesday, in a meeting with few other debated decisions to be made.

Health insurance

West Burlington employees are switching from Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to Aetna insurance. The contract is locked in for a year and able to be cancelled at any time, in case recent changes to Aetna's situation regarding its purchase by CVS Pharmacy drastically change the company. 

The switch is to save money. Where renewing the previous insurance would bring a 23.74 percent increase to costs, this contract would bring only a 2.6 percent. 

Councilman Rod Crowner said he would've liked to have staff polled on whether they would like to switch, but he agrees with City Manager Dan Gifford's recommendation to switch because of the savings. Gifford reminded the council that, while some staff would likely prefer their current insurance, those earning the least would likely be best served by the lower payments with Aetna. 

Physical fitness

While it would make more sense if more employees chose to participate, the council also agreed to keep the city's employee wellness program through Great River Health Systems. The program will cost $500 more than last year for a total of $7,450.

Some employees are struggling with glucose levels and "waist circumferences," the GRHS's program staff reported, but those who participated in the program saw improvement in most metrics. 

Broadway Street 

The turn lane that's been closed on Broadway Street is supposed to reopen today.

Dates haven't been set on when work in the area will continue in the spring.