No Word Yet on Health Insurance Costs for Town

Peter Bragdon, the newly hired executive director of Health Trust and interim executive director of Property Liability Trust, Inc., told the Town Council that rates have not yet been set for municipal health insurance for the coming year.
Councilor Tom Freda said he had heard health insurance premiums with Health Trust were going to rise by 50 percent, but Bragdon said that was unlikely.

“I will say that rates have not been set yet but I haven’t seen anything that indicates that kind of increase,” Bragdon said.
Council Chairman John Farrell said he thought the town was paying $23,000 a year for a family plan. “I’ve seen numbers as high as $30,000 for next year,” he said. “I think we pay over $1 million to LGC (Local Government Center) for the town side. I’m not familiar with the numbers on the school side.”
Farrell said the town wants to know what is happening. “We have to seriously sit back and like Nashua and Manchester have done, look at the possibility of self insuring, because we can’t continue to climb with those kind of rates,” he told Bragdon. “We’re working with our collective bargaining groups, trying to give them the same level of service.”
Bragdon said he understood Farrell’s concern but had not heard anything to indicate the type of increases mentioned. He said rates could not be set until the audit of the previous year was completed and that took place last week, with the board looking at the rates this week.
Bragdon said trends indicate a number “under 10 percent” for a rate increase.
Peter Curro, a board member of Health Trust and business administrator for the Londonderry School District, added, “the medical trend at the moment is 6.8 percent. That doesn’t mean that is going to be the rate.”
New Hampshire Local Government Center, an organization that provides municipalities and school districts with insurance and responds to questions from local government, has split the insurance portion of the organization into two branches, Bragdon said.
Bragdon told the Town Council on Monday that two organizations have been created out of the former LGC “to reflect the different operations of the overall organization. There are three separate components of the former LGC – one is the New Hampshire Municipal Association, which keeps towns and elected municipal officials informed of issues at the State House that would affect their jobs and offers relevant training. LGC also had two insurance components: Health Trust, which dealt with health insurance for approximately 75,000 municipal employees, and Property Liability Trust, which covers property and casualty insurance as well as workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation.”
Bragdon said he has been in his new post for just over a month and a lot of changes have occurred recently that have resulted from things that happened as long as a decade ago.
“Over the last couple of years the organization has been in the news in part because of some regulatory actions taken by the Secretary of State’s office through its Bureau of Securities Regulations,” he said. “These different insurance pools are run by the same boards of directors, and so part of the order from the Secretary of State was that it be broken apart to have separate boards for each of the pools, a board for the health insurance pool and a separate board for the other insurance products.”
The result was to break down the organization into separate corporations so that each insurance pool is its own corporation.

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