Select Board Approves Health Insurance Rates for Burlington Active and Retired Employees | Burlington

BURLINGTON — City officials recently presented the Select Board with an outline of proposed health insurance rates for 2023 for current and retired city employees, which saw members unanimously approve user-friendly rates.

As was the case last year, city treasurer/tax collector Gay Gianino first delivered “good news” to the select committee, saying city officials and unions have been working together with diligence throughout this year to ensure that all parties are satisfied with health. rates and insurance plans. There are over 700 active employees on the city’s insurance plan.

Gianino explained health care premiums for active and retired employees.

Active employees

The proposed rate increases for the four health insurance plans for active municipal employees do not exceed 4%. These plans involve Blue Care Elect PPO (4%), Blue Cross HMO Blue (4%), Harvard Pilgrim Best Buy (4%) and Harvard Pilgrim HSA Plan (0%). These schemes are intended for municipal employees under the age of 65 (persons not eligible for health insurance).

“It’s good news for us and good news for the employees,” Gianino said.

Health insurance rates in communities across the country are expected to increase by at least 10% in 2022, so Burlington is certainly in the most ideal situation at no more than 4%.

“Compared to other communities, [Burlington] works very well with our employees to sort out the contractual situation and try to accommodate how they need health care, so it doesn’t affect the rates as a whole. The 4% increase was recommended and appropriate for 2023,” Gianino commented.

The deductible formula for independent plans is a $1,000 deductible, in which the city pays the first $500. For family plans, the deductible is $2,000 and the city pays the first $1,000.

Plans for retirees

Retired employees (people over the age of 65) have five different plans to choose from, called supplemental Medicare plans.

Health insurance plans for seniors are community rate increases because the city is not self-funding in retiree programs. The city is self-funded with respect to employees active in the plan. The plans are Tufts Preferred HMO (estimated 4%), Tufts Preferred Supplement (estimated 4%), Harvard Medicare Advanced (4.1%), Blue Cross-Managed Blue (0.3%) and Blue Cross MedEx (0 .8%).

“The rates are set by the health insurance funds and we have to pass them on to our pensioners and the health insurance schemes for the over 65s,” Gianino recalled. “But that’s just the result of what the federal government does with the funding. Rates are set regionally based on claims recorded over the past 12 months.

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A positive trend appears to be continuing as a decrease in employee claims has again occurred, which is the result of the board’s vote for a high-deductible scheme seven years ago. One of the main goals is to try to reduce drug claims.

The city has also been vigilant in promoting employee wellness education, including anti-smoking and diabetes education programs to help steer employees in the right direction of good health. .

“We’ve been successful with these wellness education programs because claims have been declining in recent years,” Gianino explained. “Health insurance is usually a budget headache for communities. Fortunately, we have very responsive city employee representatives working with us. Everyone realizes that we have a great plan, but they also realize that it’s a very expensive plan for taxpayers, so everyone is trying to make it as cheap as possible.

The select board was satisfied with the rates for active employees.

“I would like to thank all parties involved for dedicating all of their time to securing these rates,” said Joseph Morandi, member of the Select Board. “It doesn’t happen overnight. It will continue to be great for the city.

Board Member Michael Runyan added: ‘I want to commend you for keeping the increases to a very modest level. It is still below the state average.

Gianino has formally requested a board vote to authorize health insurance rates for 2023, which will take effect January 1, 2023. Any percentage increases will be deducted from each paycheck one month in advance to pay bonuses.

The Select Council unanimously approved the 2023 health insurance rate proposals for active and retired city employees.

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