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


WYMAN SAYS BILL JEOPARDIZES COST-SAVING PLAN
FOR MUNICIPAL HEALTH INSURANCE
Contact: Steve Jensen
860-702-3308/3301
Steven.Jensen@po.state.ct.us

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman today testified that a proposed bill before the General Assembly could cripple her effort to help cities and towns control their health insurance costs, maintain jobs and avoid tax increases during this current economic slowdown.

Wyman said Senate Bill 492 would jeopardize her plan to use the leverage of the state employee health insurance plan to purchase health coverage for a newly-formed, voluntary grouping of municipalities under the Municipal Employees Health Plan (MEHIP). Projections show that the plan could save tens of millions of tax dollars that are now spent on municipalities' health insurance costs.

"We all know that health insurance is the fastest growing area of most local government budgets," Wyman testified before Insurance and Real Estate Committee. "But instead of saving municipalities millions of dollars, this bill has the very real potential to force them to impose layoffs and raise taxes."

Wyman was joined at the hearing by several municipal officials who testified about the crushing impact health coverage costs are having on their budgets.

Wyman said she is opposing portions of the bill that would give the state Insurance Department - which is already on record opposing the municipal-grouping plan - unprecedented authority to amend or outright reject it.

"It is very instructive to note that Insurance Department officials have more than once expressed concern to my staff that the proposed rates we negotiated with the carriers were too low," Wyman testified. "I think that speaks volumes about the climate we are operating in."

Wyman said her office recently was able to negotiate a zero-percent increase for the state employee and retiree health care plan, which translates into a savings of about $70 million dollars under the proposed budget for 2008-2009. The municipal-grouping plan would use that same negotiating leverage to achieve savings for municipalities, she said.

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
March 6, 2008

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