Press-Republican

Local News

December 3, 2013

Beekmantown unions switch to Plan B

BEEKMANTOWN — The Beekmantown Central School Teachers and Support Staff unions have agreed to switch their health-insurance coverage to Plan B.

The change, which applies only to active employees, was achieved through union negotiations and approved by the School Board at a recent meeting.

BCSD Superintendent Daniel Mannix told the Press-Republican he applauds the bargaining units for making the move, which will save the district more than 18 percent annually in health-insurance premiums.

“They took a look at ways to safeguard their members and safeguard, really, everybody, and it ends up being truly a win-win for both the district and the unions,” he said.

Until Jan. 1, 2014, the groups will remain on Plan A, the more costly coverage offered by the Clinton-Essex-Warren-Washington Schools Health Insurance Consortium, to which BCSD belongs.

“The district currently pays over $6.4 million in health insurance for active and retired employees,” Mannix said.

The Beekmantown Teachers Association contract is valid for four years and the Support Staff agreement for three.

While switching the unions to the alternative plan, the new contracts also include a Health Reimbursement Agreement, which calls for the district to refund employees for certain deductibles and co-insurance costs.

BCSD will use that agreement to keep employees’ shares of individual- and family-plan deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums the same as they are under Plan A, according to Mannix.

The only change for employees, he noted, will be in pharmaceutical costs.

The contracts call for an average salary increase of 3 percent, including step increases, over the life of the agreements.

‘SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS’

Because the district will be offsetting some employee costs, the superintendent said, it’s hard to say exactly how much, in dollars, will be saved as a result of the switch; however, “it’s significant, significant savings over the next four years.”

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