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March 05. 2014 11:19PM

MTA seeks shift to city’s health plan

MANCHESTER — The Manchester Transit Authority wants to shift its employees to the city’s health plan with the goal of saving the agency nearly $70,000 a year in premium costs.

MTA Executive Director Mike Whitten told the aldermen’s Human Resources Committee on Tuesday that the move would allow the city to reduce its subsidy to the authority by $33,440.

The proposal, which Whitten devised with city Human Resources Director Jane Gile, came after the MTA’s current insurer, the Local Government Center, raised its premiums 19.3 percent for the next fiscal year.

“It makes sense,” Whitten said in an interview. “The city funds the MTA, and anything that saves us money ultimately saves the city money.”

The plan would affect 42 MTA employees, who are represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 717. The union is supportive of the change, Whitten said.

The employees would experience no change in their plans, according to Whitten, since both the LGC and the city offer the same kind of high-deductible plan. The city’s policy, Whitten’s said, would be slightly less costly than the LGC’s because it has a lower deductible.Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield administers Manchester’s health plan, but the city is self-insured, meaning it pays claims directly.

Members of the Human Resources Committee had a mostly favorable response to the proposal, but a couple of aldermen raised concerns about the potential cost of individual claims.

Joyce Craig asked Gile, the HR director, if it was possible to estimate the cost of adding the MTA employees to the city risk pool.

“We can’t anticipate what the actual cost would be,” Gile said. “If there’s a catastrophic illness, our stop-loss would cover it.”

Ward 4 Alderman Jim Roy said he wanted the city’s finance director to look over the proposal.

The committee approved the plan by a unanimous vote. It’s expected to go before the full board at its next meeting.tsiefer@unionleader.com


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