BALDWIN — Following the announcement that Lake County's health insurance provider, Consumer's Mutual, was about to go out of business, the county recently adopted services from the Blue Care Network for all of its employees.

County Administrator Tobi Lake and the county's board of commissioners looked at several different options for health insurance for county employees, and after speaking with the county's insurance agent came to believe the Blue Care Network HMO would be the best available option.

Blue Care Network offers similar coverage and similar rates as what employees have now, but using it means being restricted to fewer doctors or medical facilities — as to use an HMO, the medical provider has to belong to the HMO's network — and often more red tape for patients to have to negotiate.

"It has comparable coverage, but we are sacrificing flexibility by using an HMO," explained Lake. "We gathered together members of the unions working within the county on Dec. 7, and discussed the situation with them. No one loved this plan, but everyone understood this was the best option."