No Decision on Disbursement of Chester Insurance Settlement

CHESTER – Local towns have been receiving checks in recent months as a result of a settlement with the New Hampshire Local Government Center (LGC) for its overcharging of health insurance premiums and as a result, have been pondering how to use that money.
In late August, Chester received a refund of $28,503.99, amounting to 12 percent of what the town paid in medical and dental premiums in 2010 and 2011 as part of LGC’s self-funded risk pools. Of that amount, $19,779 is connected to 2010 and the remainder to the following year.

The refund was issued as a result of a state Bureau of Securities Regulations’ order that the LGC repay $33.2 million to towns and school districts in recompense for keeping too much in reserve funds.
Aside from the taxpayers who were overcharged, during those years town employees also contributed a percentage of the premiums and some are concerned about what the board of selectmen has planned for the refund.
During the time period of the refund, Chester employees contributed between 5 and 15 percent of their health insurance premiums, depending on the type of plan they had.
Selectman chair Steph Landau said the matter had been discussed in a non-public session in September, called under the matter of compensation, and said the discussion was connected to employee pay. The details of that meeting were not discussed by Landau, citing the privacy of the discussion.
Landau said that while no decisions have yet been made, there was no question in the minds of those on the board that the employees who paid into the insurance should receive a portion of the refund.
Part of the reason no decision has been made, Landau explained, is that the board wants all five members in attendance, and that has been difficult to achieve over the last couple of months.
The chair added that while there were no plans to include the item on an agenda as the Tri-Town Times went to press, it didn’t mean the matter wouldn’t soon be discussed. He added that he was not aware the town had already received a check from LGC earlier in the year.
“It could very well come up Thursday (Nov. 7),” said Landau earlier this week. “We’re not trying to hide anything. We would really like to have all five of us available.”
Landau noted that there also aren’t any set plans for using the taxpayers’ portion of the refund, though he suspected there were many useful applications, from adding to the unexpended fund balance to taking on projects or paying for overages in projects already completed this year.

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