MASSENA — Massena village trustees have signed off on a change in health insurance coverage for village employees, retirees and eligible dependents that will save both the village and individuals money.
Trustee Francis J. Carvel, a village retired, abstained from the vote, and Trustee Christine M. Winston was excused.
EffectiveJan. 1, the village will cancel existing health insurance coverage through the Excellus SimplyBlue Plus Platinum 2 Plan and provide health insurance coverage through Excellus Bronze 4 PPO Plan for active employees and their eligible dependents and for non-Medicare-eligible retirees and their eligible dependents.
Under the change, the village will provide a health reimbursement arrangement covering 100% of the deductible for each employee and their dependents, and they’ll continue to provide health insurance coverage through the Medicare Advantage Plan with United Healthcare for all Medicare-eligible members and their eligible dependents.
“Medicare-eligible retirees are not seeing any change. That’s a key detail. Those retirees that are currently Medicare-eligible, their plans stay the same,” Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire said.
Under the village’s current plan, there are no individual or family deductibles. The village pays $3,025,454 in annual premiums for 119 employees.
Under the Excellus Bronze 4 PPO plan presented to trustees last month by Zachary Zuckerman, employees would see a $7,500 deductible for singles and $15,000 deductible for families, both of which would be covered by the village. The village would pay annual premiums of $1,738,641, a decrease of 42.5%, according to literature provided by Mr. Zuckerman, vice president of USI Insurance Services.
Mr. LeBire suggested one amendment to the plan, which was approved by trustees.
“Number three, providing health reimbursement coverage for each employee and their dependents, should there be a notation of as defined by collective bargaining agreements or the employee personnel manual in the absence of CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) language? I just know over the course of eight years such a simple word has a variety of meanings,” he said.
Mayor Gregory M. Paquin said they were looking at certain criteria in deciding to make the switch. Among them, he said, it benefits the taxpayers as well as the employees with their contribution decreasing if they’re paying a percentage of the cost.
He said they’ve scheduled meetings to explain the change to employees, retirees and dependents, in addition to meetings he has already held.
“We’ve tentatively scheduled two days for employee education, Nov. 3 and Nov. 4, and that is throughout the day,” Mr. Paquin said.
Those will be held at the fire station, Department of Public Works and police station.
“We’ll make sure we have a letter that we’ll send out to everyone regarding that,” Mr. Paquin said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to meet with the groups to discuss this. Nobody likes change. I’m not going to say they sat there and high five’d me by any stretch of the imagination.”