Monday, June 15, 2009

City Advised to Rethink Health Insurance Opt-Out

The City of Asbury Park rewarded its employees who chose not receive the City-supplied health insurance package a total of $292,963 in cash last year (2008).
Not surprisingly, 28 employees took advantage of this "Opt-Out" choice last year. Ex: the City would pay out $22,878 a year for an employee with family coverage. If the employee opts out, the City pays him or her $11,439 a year. The City saves the same amount.
State-hired auditors, Wiss & Co., say it's great the city is saving like this, but recommend it consider reducing the reward to say, $2,000 or $5,000. This they estimate could save the City between $169,000 and $237,000 a year.
It also suggested the City consider requiring its employees to contribute toward their own healthcare. "...if the City's health insurance plan covered 275 employees, and those employees contributed $100 per month, the City would save $330,000."
Finally, the auditors note that one of the lawyers providing services to the City and several other municipalities, is receiving health benefits from the City amounting to $16,930 a year. They write: "The City should consider not paying the cost of health benefits of individuals, which by the nature of the services being performed, are providing professional services."

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