Village keeps insurance plan for savings

By Ryan Ottney

December 5, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

Members of New Boston Village Council voted Tuesday evening to rescind a previous ordinance extending its agreement with Portsmouth Insurance Agency, in order to continue its current policy and save $16,000.

During a special meeting in September, council voted to extend their current agreement with Portsmouth Insurance Agency through December 2014. New Boston Mayor James Warren said the village’s contract with the insurance agency otherwise would have expired in June 2014. By extending it until December of next year, Warren said, it would have allowed the village to continue offering health insurance to village employees at its current — expected to be lower — rate after the Affordable Care Act (commonly called “Obamacare”) begins.

During their meeting on Tuesday, Councilman Junior Williams reported to council that the outlook of Obamacare has now changed, and the insurance company was recommending the village rescind that ordinance and continue its current policy to save money. Williams said the village could save $16,000 this year by keeping its current policy and not locking in current, now higher rates for an extended period.

“The bottom line is, we were charging our employees $5 or $10 a month. It’s going to increase their costs and it’s going to cost our premium somewhere around … a total of $16,000 and some change, plus it’s going to cost our employees,” Williams said.

Instead of locking in those rates, he said, the village can choose to keep its current policy with no changes to realize those savings. Council considered their options and voted unanimously to keep its current, regular plan which expires in June, and will not extend their policy until December 2014.

“We’ll stay with the status quo and wait until June and see what happens. Now that’s what they’re recommending. I don’t know what changed their mind. They just kept bringing up the Affordable Care Act terminology. It saves our employees and it saves us $16,000. That’s their (the insurance company) recommendation, but it’s up to us,” Williams said.

The New Boston Village Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of every month, at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers of the Vern Riffe Community Center, on Rhodes Avenue in New Boston. The next regular meeting of New Boston Council will be Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.