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Big Savings for Towns in Health Care Pooling Bill

There’s always strength in numbers. The more individuals you can rally together, the better.

Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to teachers and health care. In fact, if teachers can get—though legislative action this year—the option of joining the state employees’ health care plan, then many educators, as well as the towns they work for, will save money.

Teachers and local taxpayers should urge their legislators to adopt Senate Bill 913. By allowing municipal employees—including educators—to join the state employees’ health care plan, SB 913 would save most towns a significant amount in municipal health care costs.

The savings to local taxpayers that would come from allowing educators to pool their health insurance risk with other municipal and state employees could potentially be over a million dollars for some larger Connecticut towns. Joining the state employee plan would be optional, and districts/teachers could choose to maintain their current health care plans.

With the state facing tough financial decisions, allowing health care pooling is an easy way to offer relief to cities and towns.

Reducing the cost of health insurance plans is especially important the closer we get to 2018, when a federal excise tax on higher-cost health insurance plans is scheduled to take effect. U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney has announced legislation to repeal this provision of the Affordable Care Act.

But if Courtney’s bill gets no legs in the U.S. Congress, then all health insurance benefits above $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage will be subject to a 40 percent tax.

Since Connecticut is a high-cost of living state, unless municipalities can find ways to reduce the cost of health plans, many plans will be subject to the 40 percent tax and increase the economic burden on towns.

Tell your state senator and representative to support Senate Bill 913. Click here to look up your legislators and find their contact information.

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