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Schenectady seeks to extend health savings

Schenectady seeks to extend health savings

Bill goes to full Legislature
Schenectady seeks to extend health savings
Photographer: Shutterstock

SCHENECTADY -- Schenectady County is looking to extend prescription drug savings to the county's municipalities and school districts.

The County Legislator's Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee Tuesday night voted to support state legislation that would allow the option. That bill will go before the full Legislature on Tuesday.

The Municipal Health Insurance Savings Act, sponsored by Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Colonie, would allow towns, villages and school districts to participate in self-insurance programs like the one used by Schenectady County.

The rationale is that, while most local governments aren't big enough to have buying power, working together with the county would give them greater access to savings.

County officials said last month they saved $2 million on health insurance costs between 2010 and 2016 by using a mail-order system that gets employee prescription drugs from Canada.

"This legislation, were it to pass, would make it a lot easier to adopt that (Canadian pharmacy) model," said Gary Hughes, the Legislature's majority leader. "This would open the door and make it a little easier."

The bill's chances of making it into law are uncertain. It was also introduced in 2015 but didn't go forward.

County Attorney Chris Gardner said Steck's bill may require some modification, but he still hopes to see it become law.

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