Health insurance

Pelham City Council Hears Health Insurance Benefit Proposal for Town Employees

Through MICHELLE LOVE | Editor-in-chief

PELHAM – To Pelham City Council meeting on Monday October 4, Council received a proposal for an annual allowance check to employees of the Town of Tracy Hill, the Town of Pelham’s Senior Human Resources Officer.

Payment would take the form of a $ 1200 “Instead of” check, and would be paid to city employees who chose to opt out of the city’s health insurance plan.

City manager Gretchen DiFante opened by saying the plan has been in discussion with the Town of Pelham Benefits Committee for some time.

“The benefits committee, one of the things we’ve been talking about for a very long time is making a payment ‘instead of’ for people who aren’t or don’t choose to be on city health insurance.” , DiFante explained to the Council. “It’s something that many of us have had in jobs in local government and in the private sector. In reviewing this with our Board of Directors, we decided to propose to start by January 2022 an annual $ 1200 in lieu of check for employees who do not benefit from the city’s health insurance. “

Hill then took up the proposal and explained that employees would have specific requirements to qualify for the allowance.

“Employees would be required to meet the requirements for other acceptable coverage in order to deny our insurance,” Hill said. “We want to make sure people are covered and that their coverage is acceptable under the Affordable Care Act, which means this is a qualified plan that meets minimum essential coverage standards.”

“So if I’m an employee and already have coverage under other Affordable Care Act compliant insurance plans and also participate in the city’s health and dental plan, I would have the ability to decline our coverage and in return I would receive an allowance, ”continued Hill.

Hill said the city currently has six employees who have chosen to decline city coverage.

The annual allowance of $ 1200 will be paid at the end of the year to the employee who declined coverage for the entire year.

“Right now, the annual cost in 2022 for a single coverage, the premium will be $ 6,600 per employee. So for every employee who has credible coverage and refuses to participate in our coverage, if we pay them $ 1200 because we wouldn’t have to pay their premium, we would save $ 5400 for every employee who makes that choice, ”Hill told Council.

Hill said they predicted an additional eight to ten employees would be willing to turn down the city’s insurance plans, and even with a conservative estimate, the city would save a considerable amount of funds.

“Even though we think eight in ten will decline coverage, if only five employees refuse coverage in addition to the six who have already refused, the total amount of allowances paid to 11 employees would be $ 13,200 annually, and this would replace the city’s payment of health insurance premiums that would be $ 72,732,” she said.

Council member David Coram said he was most certainly in favor of the proposal and said it was “obvious”. Board member Rick Wash agreed he thought it was a “great” idea.

Councilmember Larry Palmer asked if the employee would be covered on the road even after retirement.

“Yes, they can opt out now and come back later when there are open registrations,” Hill replied. “If they sign up for the coverage when they are approaching retirement if they want to and they stay there for a full year, then they can continue that coverage after retirement.”

President of the council Maurice mercer said he felt the savings the city would benefit would give him the opportunity to reinvest in city employees with other possible benefits down the line.

“I’m excited for this,” he said. “It gives us the opportunity to help all employees by making this change and it seems like a win-win for everyone.”

The proposal must be voted on at the next municipal Council meeting, which is scheduled for Monday November 1.