Manchester's city health costs soaring
This is in addition to a $3 million gap looming in the next fiscal year, as Mayor Ted Gatsas revealed in the 2015 budget he unveiled on Monday.
The latest forecast for the health care deficit tops earlier estimates. Costs are much higher than anticipated following union concessions that went into effect two years ago hiking premium contribution rates and co-pays.
"I think our plan design changes have helped a little bit, but if you look nationally, health care expenses are going up, approaching double digits," Sanders said. "Our advisers are saying costs will go up 8.5 percent (next year). That's not that bad, but it's difficult when you have a cap at 2 percent."
The rise in health care costs is leading some aldermen to take another look at hiring a "wellness coordinator," who would promote healthy habits on the part of municipal employees while keeping an eye on costs.
"We literally can't afford to keep writing checks," Corriveau told the committee.
The city already has a wellness committee made up of union representatives and department heads. It also participates in a program called COMPASS that promotes nutrition and exercise, and tracks employee use of the health care system.
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Mark Hayward's City Matters: Dean Kamen is a genius inventor, and he's pretty good at oratory, too