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April 17, 2014
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Lawmakers vote to change insurance plans; union workers are ‘fearful’


Lou Setren, the former business agent for the Teamsters, challenged Shaddock on that remark. He said, “The employer is obligated by contract to provide the equivalent existing coverage. To offer the employees the opportunity to take money out of their pockets, when we are already substantially underpaid compared to other counties and the private sector, is a wrong-headed move.”


PRESS RELEASE FROM SULLIVAN COUNTY

SULLIVAN COUNTY LEGISLATURE APPROVES SELF-FUND HEALTH/PRESCRIPTION/DENTAL INSURANCE PROGRAM – AT LEAST $1.2 MILLION EXPEN SE AVOIDED IN 2012, PLUS WELLNESS INITIATIVES, ENHANCED BENEFITS, AND BETTER COVERAGE

Monticello – The Sullivan County Legislature today approved a self-funded Health/Prescription/Dental Insurance Program that was negotiated through a Request for Proposals process, and recommended by County Manager David Fanslau. The workgroup that put in many hours researching and analyzing the program included Fanslau, Deputy County Manager Joshua Potosek, Human Resources Director Lynda Levine, Purchasing Director Kathy Jones, Risk Management and /insurance Director Monica Farquhar Brennan, and Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Management and Budget Janet Young.

“After a lot of hard work and recommendations from our county staff, I am excited to report that the County Legislature voted to implement a new, self-funded Health/Prescription/Dental Insurance Program administered through EBS-RMSCO, Inc. This new program will offer cost savings to the county, comparable care to what employees and retirees are receiving now, and an innovative healthier workforce program to offer our employees and retirees,” said Legislator Alan J. Sorensen, Chairman of the Government Services Committee.

“The cost avoidance that this program will realize is critical to the County’s budget process in 2012 and beyond, particularly when we are realizing reduced revenues and State Aid, and a new property tax cap law,” said Jonathan F. Rouis, Chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature.

“This change will permit the County to reduce the cost of health care by $1.2 million in health insurance expenses in 2012. These cost savings will also help to reduce the burden of employee health benefits on taxpayers and is one step the County has taken to take to get our fiscal house in order,” added Legislator Sorensen.

The self-funded plan will mirror the current plan documents that are in place through the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP), which will essentially become Sullivan County’s plan documents. Included in the service agreement are wellness programs, and disease management programs.

“Throughout the due diligence process, I have insisted that the self-funded program would be a good plan, and provide more coverage, not less coverage. I have also insisted that as a priority of mine, that all subscribers (employees and retirees) will be educated on the details of the self-funded plan, as there is nothing worse than dealing with unknowns when facing healthcare issues,” said Legislator Jodi I. Goodman, Chair of the Management and Budget Committee.

“Covered and eligible employees and covered and eligible retirees that currently have treatments, prescriptions, and diagnoses approved and covered by NYSHIP will have those same services approved seamlessly through the self-funded plan. If it is covered by NYSHIP, then it will be covered under the self-funded program. All current co-payment schedules for providers and prescriptions will remain the same as they are currently under NYSHIP,” said County Manager David Fanslau.

Retirees that are Medicare primary will actually receive an enhanced benefit over the NYSHIP program, and the County will realize a reduced cost for the enhancement. Basically, if a medical provider accepts Medicare, then this program will cover 100% of costs above Medicare, and there will be no need for the medical provider to be in a network. Any retiree that is not Medicare primary eligible will be covered through the self-funded program, with the same coverage that they now receive from NYSHIP.

The County Manager will facilitate numerous educational sessions to be conducted by EBS-RMSCO, INC. that will commence next week. These sessions will educate and inform the County covered and eligible employees and the covered and eligible retirees about the self-funded Health/Prescription/Dental Program that will essentially convert the current NYSHIP plan to be the Sullivan County Plan Documents; and to review the network of providers, and take appropriate steps to realize as many of the current providers providing medical services to County subscribers, to be included in the Sullivan County network of providers as possible.

A feature that will potentially reduce plan costs is an innovative Interactive Health Solutions Program (IHS) that will be offered to County employees. This innovative program has been credited with catching serious illnesses and diseases in early stages that produce a better healthier outcome for participants, and reduced claims expenses for the plan.

“The self-funded program will not be limited to a single network of providers. This program will permit EBS-RMSCO, INC. to place subscribers in the network that is the best fit for them, as well as, the best network for the plan. Also, this program will allow EBS-RMSCO, INC. to recruit providers into Sullivan County’s network, providing a great deal of flexibility,” concluded Fanslau.