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February 27, 2014

BCSD retirees can remain on Plan A

School Board will not change health insurance

BEEKMANTOWN — No unilateral changes will be made to Beekmantown Central School retirees’ health insurance.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the School Board agreed not to switch the district’s retired teachers and support staff from Plan A to Plan B.

The decision came after months of discussion at public meetings, during which several retirees spoke out against the switch, while some taxpayers advocated for the cost-saving measure.

Tuesday, Board President Debbie Passno said the board and BCSD Superintendent Dan Mannix spent a lot of time exploring all health-insurance options in an effort to ensure the district’s sustainability.

One option that was considered involved switching retirees to Plan B and placing a cap on prescription-drug costs, as well as providing a health reimbursement agreement that would keep deductibles and out-of-pocket maxes the same as on Plan A.

“With the prescription cap ... I don’t think that a change would provide a great deal of negative impact, but I know that the community feels differently,” Passno said. “We’ve heard from all of you, and we have been listening.”

FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

The sustainability of Plan A is a concern, she noted, and the district should be looking into offering retirees options, including: staying on Plan A; voluntarily switching to Plan B with a reimbursement agreement and prescription cap; and accepting a Medicare-supplement buyout.

Were the district to do that, Mannix noted, the Medicare-supplement buyout option would be offered annually. However, he recommended that switching to the alternative plan with the benefit of a reimbursement agreement and prescription cap be offered only for a limited time.

Those who opted to switch to Plan B would be able to change back to their previous plan if they weren’t satisfied, according to Mannix.

“I’ve always been about allowing our retirees to choose instead of us making the decision,” board member Cathy Buckley said during the session.

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