Danby employees facing health insurance changes
By SANDI SWITZER
Correspondent | June 20,2013
DANBY — Health insurance coverage for municipal employees will change in the coming months to adhere to state and federal requirements.
A community member, Cheryl Bicskei, attended on behalf of the town a Vermont Health Connect forum outlining health insurance options available for municipal employees later this year.
VHC is a health insurance exchange established in response to the federal Affordable Care Act and will eventually be the only source for primary health insurance in the state.
Bicskei advised the Danby Select Board recently that the exchange would launch this fall with coverage beginning Jan. 1. She added that town employees must be signed up before the beginning of next year or “risk losing coverage.”
Some town employees are covered by union contracts featuring health insurance coverage that will have to be revised, she said. “Negotiations are required to take place in towns with unions,” Bicskei said.
The municipality will select the VHC insurance carrier — either Blue Cross Blue Shield or MVP — and decide “how much you want to contribute to employee costs,” she said.
The exchange was designed so carriers would offer the same basic coverage with platinum, gold, silver and bronze plans, according to Bicskei.
“Employees can all be on the same plan or each have a different plan,” she added. “They said you do not want to get into not offering it, because it’s a nightmare.”
The municipality will receive a single invoice for health insurance coverage from Vermont Health Connect and all plans renew on Jan. 1 of each year, Bicskei noted.
Danby resident George McNeill suggested the municipality consider hiring someone to assist the town through the enrollment process.
“There’s going to be more problems with this than you can shake a stick at,” he said.
Bicskei noted certified individuals would be available to aid the town. Select Board Chairman Chip Wright added the municipality may seek guidance from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.