, Newburyport, MA

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October 22, 2013

Health insurance increases 26 percent for town employees


At the time of the switch, officials said Lumenos provided the same or better coverage than JY and Blue Choice plans, but at lower premium costs because it’s a high-deductible plan. An example cited indicated that by switching from the Blue Choice plan, which most employees had at the time, premiums would drop by 34 percent, representing a gross annual savings of $1.1 million.

Lumenos, which most employees opted for, offers family and two-person plans with the first $5,000 deductible and individual plans with $2,500 deductibles. The town covers the deductibles for each person on the plan, setting up individual third-party-administered accounts containing the cost for each employee on the Lumenos plan. When employees use their medical insurance, the deductible costs are paid out from the accounts. The money not used in the accounts would revert to the town.

It took longer than expected to establish the third-party administration system, but some savings should have been realized since most employees are on Lumenos.

The Local Government Center and HealthTrust have endured both political and financial turmoil since an August 2012 ruling requiring it repay its municipal clients $17.1 million from its workers compensation risk pool funds, which were found to be kept and utilized inappropriately. The payments are due Dec. 1, but the LGC has asked and extension, although the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office is urging the court not to postpone repayment.

Last month, HealthTrust executive director Peter Bragdon rejected the notion the company is preparing to file bankruptcy.

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