Council 4 Hails Passage of Health Care Pooling Law

Council 4 News Release
Contact: Larry Dorman (860) 989-9127 or [email protected]

Hartford, CT, May 27, 2015
– The union representing 32,000 public service workers tonight hailed the passage of SB 913, the health care pooling bill that will enable municipalities and boards of education to voluntarily enroll their employees in the state health insurance plan at cost.

The House voted 82-61 in favor of the measure tonight, a week after the Senate voted 21-14 in the affirmative.

“This bill is a win-win scenario,” said Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano. “By applying the principal of bulk purchasing to health care, the legislature has taken a bold step forward to help municipalities rein in rising costs while providing taxpayers with significant savings and ensuring employees access to quality, affordable coverage.”

SB 913 is headed to the Governor’s desk. Council 4, whose membership includes state, local government and board of education employees, is calling on the Governor to put his signature on SB 913.

“Health care has become an extraordinarily costly and contentious issue at the bargaining table in cities and towns across the state,” Luciano said. “We urge Governor Malloy to sign the bill into law because it will provide municipal employers with major relief should they choose to join the state health care plan. The time has come for true health care pooling.”

Facts about SB 913:

What does buying into the state plan “at cost” mean?
"At cost" means towns would pay the same rates that the state charges itself under the self-insured state employee health plan.

What is the impact on the state plan?
The Comptroller analyzed the claims data of municipal employees and compared it to that of state employees. His analysis found that the claims/populations are similar, and that there should be no impact to the state employee plan at all. In addition, the bill says that municipalities cannot "risk wash, " i.e., dump only the employees that need the most care into the state plan.

 What happens if the state pool is expanded?
If more participants are in the plan we can achieve better savings rates – such as prescription purchasing.

What is the broader impact of SB 913?
Whether we work for the state or for local government or boards of education, we are all property taxpayers, too. Pooling insurance is like the state allowing cities and towns to buy salt and sand on the state contract, reducing cost to the municipality and helping them keep regressive property taxes down.

For example, the Comptroller looked at the health insurance costs in Middletown and found that if the town joined the state plan, they'd reduce insurance costs by 9%! That's money Middletown taxpayers are giving to insurance corporations as pure profit that should instead be going toward protecting local services and reducing property taxes.