18 March 2012

Lowering Municipal Health Insurance Premiums: New Britain Should Adopt Partnership Plan, Join State Pool

Energy in all its forms and health insurance are two of the most rapidly rising costs in most household budgets.  Municipal government is no different.  Lowering these two items in local government would be a tax stabilizer and would free up public dollars for schools, public safety and other essentials.

 In 2012 there is an option on the table to knock down the city of New Britain costs for health insurance without diminishing coverage. It will allow cities and towns to participate in the pooling of coverage offered to the state's workforce.  State Comptroller Kevin Lembo last week announced that his office has analyzed implementation in 50 cities and towns, including New Britain, and has concluded  30% of towns would have savings of 5% or more in premiums

For cash-strapped cities such as New Britain the new Health Care Partnership law enacted last year offers the administration of Mayor Tim O'Brien an opportunity to save upwards of $900,000 or more on premiums for health insurance coverage of municipal employees.  Used in states as near as blue Massachusetts and far away as red Utah,  insurance pooling takes advantage of a larger pool of employees -- spreading the risk -- to maintain similar or even improved coverage on individual and family plans.

“The CT Partnership Plan is officially open for business to all non-state government employees, including Connecticut towns, cities and boards of education,” Lembo said. “The goal is to provide towns and cities with lower health care costs and long-term price stability, while also offering quality health care to employees. Our initial analysis of more than 50 municipal employers revealed significant savings of five to eight percent in some cases – real money for municipalities seeking local property tax relief.”

New Britain and other local governments will be able to join the partnership July 1, the start of the fiscal year.

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