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What you need to know for 03/23/2017

Saratoga Springs limits health coverage to save $400,000

Saratoga Springs limits health coverage to save $400,000

The city this summer will consolidate its health insurance plans from four companies to one, saving

The city this summer will consolidate its health insurance plans from four companies to one, saving $400,000 for the remainder of the year.

Workers will be required to switch to an MVP health plan July 1 if they do not already have coverage through it, Mayor Scott Johnson said Friday.

Currently, employees have their pick of MVP, CDPHP, Empire Plan and Blue Shield Community Blue.

Johnson provided notice to the unions at a Thursday meeting that the health insurance plans would be changed, following provisions of labor contracts that require 90 days’ notice to change health plans.

“The time line is set so that it’s in compliance with the present collective bargaining agreements,” Johnson said.

John Catone, president of the city’s Police Benevolent Association, said the meeting was productive. Catone said he and other union heads are still analyzing how the plan compares to the other plans, so they can detail the changes for their members.

Catone said he and other union leaders want to make sure the plans are still good for employees, that the city actually does save money by the change and that it doesn’t simply make health insurance companies wealthier.

“If we’re just going to make money for them, I’m not interested,” he said.

Under the new plan, a standard MVP HMO will be offered to workers at no additional cost, and they would also be able to upgrade to a more comprehensive plan at their own expense, he said.

Johnson said the switch will help stem the rise in health insurance costs, since Empire Plan and Blue Shield Community Blue premiums are more costly.

City employees hired after 2004 pay part of their premiums.

“By reducing the premium, they’re also saving out of pocket themselves,” Johnson said.

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