Evanston city workers will have a little more money to spend on holiday gifts if aldermen approve a proposed employee health insurance premium holiday tonight.

City officials say Evanston has seen a reduction in its health care costs in recent years that have built up a $4.7 million reserve in its accounts with the Intergovernmental Personal Benefits Cooperative.

The increased reserves are said to be due to increased employee participation in a wellness program that has improved employee fitness and cut health benefit claims as well as changes in health benefit programs.

The proposed premium holiday would cost the city about $140,000 — or roughly a tenth of the total increase in the reserves over the past year.

The the added money to employees in December would range from about $61 for an employee with individual coverage to $166 for someone with a family plan.

Update 10:22 a.m. 11/11/14: Aldermen approved the health insurance premium holiday Monday night without debate.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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