Easthampton Postpones Insurance Action

NOVEMBER 8, 2012: Last night, the Easthampton City Council postponed any action on Mayor Tautznik’s proposal to adopt Sections 21-23 under which the mayor wants to negotiate a new insurance contract. The Council instructed Melissa Zawadzki, the city’s finance director, to provide the cost of entering into an insurance agreement with available plans that are available. She will then report back to the Council.

Jim Dunham, the appointee on the insurance advisory committee, says that the current plan, including Medex for retirees and a “Blue Cross Plus-One,” Blue Cross Blue Shield plan is well liked by the employees and retirees, especially the family plan, which is less expensive than the indemnity plan offered by other plans currently on the market.

Insurance for retirees in Easthampton can be costly, with the city paying 50% of the premium and 50% by the retiree. Employees have a 25%/75% arrangement, with the city picking up 75% of the premium cost.

Older members will recall that retirees in Easthampton once paid 100% of the cost of health insurance. For many years, the city refused to accept Section 9A of Chapter 32B (50% - 50%) on behalf of retirees and didn’t accept Section 9A until it voted to become a mayor-city council form of government instead of Town Meeting.