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March 8, 2011

Re:       S-2718, Senate President Sweeney’s Health Care Benefits Reform

Dear Mayor:

We have recently reviewed S-2718, Senate President Sweeney’s bill to establish certain criteria for public employee health care benefits and require premium percentage based employee contribution.

To summarize, S-2718:

  • Requires current employees and new retirees to pay a percentage of health benefits premium
  • Payment is phased in over 4 years for single coverage and 7 years for all other coverages
  • Percentage of  the payment is based on salary range
  • Employees hired after enacted will be required to pay percentage at the final year mark
  • New retirees with 25 years plus of service on the effective date will be exempt
  • Requires employees to participate in annual health appraisals and health wellness plans
  • After the effective date – no new towns can join the State Health Benefits Program
  • If a town is not in the State Health Benefits Program they must:
    • Provide 5 different contributory plans
    • Those that offer prescription coverage adopt policies and procedures to promote use of generic drugs
    • Enter into cooperative purchasing agreement for the purchase of prescription drugs and pharmacy benefits management service
    • Create a Employees Benefits Quality, Cost and Delivery Committee
      • Comprised of 2 elected officials
      • CFO
      • BA
      • Purchasing Agent
      • 1 member of each labor and bargaining group

We support employees contributing to their health benefits.  As employee health benefit costs are one of the driving factors of high personnel cost, something must be done.  A special committee has been created to review various pension and health care benefits reform proposals.   This committee will compile our comments and concerns with S-2718, and has requested a meeting with Senate President Sweeney to address our concerns.

If you have any questions or need additional information please contact Lori Buckelew at lbuckelew@njslom.com or 609-695-3481 x112.

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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