In a presentation to
Berkowitz said the city isn't immune to rising health care costs. He said his administration is examining new partnerships, health care models and ways to cut costs, like the re-launch of an employee wellness program.
"We have got to change how we deliver health care," Berkowitz said. "This is not a sustainable model for delivering health care."
Health care is the second-largest piece of the city budget, exceeded only by wages, Berkowitz said.
In the short term, Berkowitz is proposing benefit changes aimed at cutting costs for the city. If accepted by the Assembly, those benefit changes would include higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, said
Only about 10 percent of city employees would be affected by the benefit changes, said city manager
But next year, all city employees enrolled in the health care plan will generally see higher premiums.
Berkowitz is also proposing to the Assembly a
After two years of paying more for health care than what the city could afford, the city has dipped into its reserves, and it's time to replenish the account, Abbott told Assembly members Friday.
Without any action, the city's health care costs will increase by nearly 17 percent in 2017, officials said, to a total of
The administration's proposals would bring that down to a roughly 6 percent increase, or an increase of
As well as rising costs statewide,
Most notably, there were an unusual number of individual claims that were higher than
Several employees had claims that exceeded
In addition, the city firefighters union left the city health insurance plan at the end of last year, leading to a sudden rush of claims, Berkowitz said.
At this point, Berkowitz said the city is looking at expanding its coverage pool to include state employees and
Separate efforts are aimed at regulatory changes. Penney said she's a member of the
"No stone will be left unturned," Turner said.
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