Seal of the  State of Connecticut, Office of the State Comptroller

STATE OF CONNECTICUT

NANCY WYMAN
COMPTROLLER

OFFICE OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER
55 ELM STREET
HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT 06106-1775

MARK OJAKIAN
DEPUTY COMPTROLLER


COMPTROLLER WYMAN, MUNICIPAL AND LABOR LEADERS
ANNOUNCE LAUNCH OF COST-SAVING HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM
Contact: Steve Jensen: 860-702-3308/3301
Cell: 860-539-9298
Steven.Jensen@po.state.ct.us

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman and a host of municipal and labor leaders today announced the launch of a program that will help cities and towns lower their health insurance costs and provide property tax relief.

The Enhanced Municipal Employees Health Insurance Plan could save tens of millions of tax dollars that municipalities now spend on health insurance. The self-funded plan will use the state's buying power as leverage to drive down health insurance costs by pooling municipal employees statewide into one large risk group.

"This plan is a creative and bold step that addresses the most critical budget issue facing our cities and towns and their taxpayers," Wyman said at a news conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. "It is not just a proposal or a concept - it is a working plan that saves real tax dollars at a time when many our municipalities are in dire need of relief."

Wyman said her office recently was able to negotiate a zero-percent increase for the FY 2008-2009 state employee and retiree health care plan, which covers more than 200,000 people. The municipal-grouping plan uses that same negotiating leverage to achieve savings for municipalities, she said.

For example, a town with 1,000 employees - including teachers - could expect average annual savings of approximately $720,000. Those savings would be higher or lower depending on the municipality's insurance-claims history.

"The cost of municipal health insurance has been spiraling out of control," said Bart Russell, head of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST), which was involved in the creation of the program "For many municipalities, the Comptroller's plan will provide a vehicle for achieving much-needed savings."

Sal Luciano, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 4, said: "The Comptroller's plan couldn't be timelier as a solution to providing quality health care at a lower price - and as proof that risk-pooling works for everyone's benefit."

John Yrchik, Executive Director of the Connecticut Education Association, said: "Our interest is in promoting quality health care coverage at an affordable cost for teachers. Leveraging the power of a statewide health insurance pool for municipal employees is one of the most effective ways to achieve this."

Jim Finley, Executive Director and CEO of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, said: "Municipalities need options so they can find a way to save money on health insurance. The Comptroller's plan holds out the promise of real savings."

The program will be run by a private third-party administrator, and the state will incur no expense because all costs will be paid through premiums collected from the participating municipalities. The Comptroller's office is soliciting information from interested municipalities and coverage is scheduled to begin on July 1.

The State Comptroller appreciates input on this and other issues from residents of the state. Please feel free to contact her office by phone - (860) 702-3300; mail - OSC, 55 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106; or, via E-mail - osc.opinions@po.state.ct.us

Learn more about the Connecticut Comptroller's Office by calling up our Internet Home Page, at the link below.

For Immediate Release
April 2, 2008

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