Braintree seems increasingly unlikely to join state health insurance plan

by Lesley Politi on December 4, 2008

The Patriot Ledger
Posted Nov 28, 2008 @ 10:11 AM

BRAINTREE —

The town may have lost its chance to join the state health insurance plan this year.

It appears Braintree will fail to meet Monday’s deadline to sign on with the Group Insurance Commission beginning next July 1, following drawn-out negotiations between unions and Mayor Joseph Sullivan.

Although acknowledging the stalemate, the mayor said that he remains optimistic about an agreement.

“In my mind we still have until 5 p.m. Monday,” he said. “We spent a considerable amount of time on this. It has been an important exercise. I still hold out hope.”

Robert Joseph, president of the Police Patrolmen’s Club, said the town’s offer fell far short of what employees in neighboring towns are getting for agreeing to join the plan.

“We have to wonder why the mayor would think our members would agree to anything that is so far outside the going rate for our area.”

Weymouth Quincy and Randolph have already joined the state plan.

Joseph, chairman of a coalition of public employees negotiating with the town about the change, said their proposal sent to the mayor a month ago would have saved the town about $3 million in its first three years.

“In addition, because we made a six-year proposal, the savings would grow to several more million over the following three years based on the suggestion by the mayor’s office that our present plans could increase by an average of 13.5 percent a year,” Joseph said.

He said the potential savings to the town over the six years of the agreement would be about $12 million.

The mayor said employees’ cost-saving claims lacked documentation. He said the town’s offer was fair and similar to the one Swampscott just reached with its workers.

“I believe that if we had been able to get the town’s plan to the overall membership, we could have had a successful conclusion while maintaining quality health care,” the mayor said.

“The workers’ failure to recognize the economic situation and uncertainty became the main stumbling block,” the mayor said.

Joseph said employees are committed to working out a deal with the mayor in an effort to join the state plan in the future.

Nine of the town’s 13 unions and retirees initially agreed to join. But several larger unions – including teachers, police patrolmen and superior officers and clerical and highway workers – rejected the proposal, which required approval from 70 percent of employees to take effect.

The town received several deadline extensions from the state while trying to get workers to join the state health plan.

Source: /www.patriotledger.com

Questions Call Politi Insurance Agents & Brokers

www.health-insurancecalifornia.com

818-709-8442

Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: