Council approves measure to reduce employee healthcare expense
Last night the West University Place City Council unanimously voted to reverse the trend of ever-rising healthcare costs for city employees by adopting an employee health care plan that will cut the city’s annual expenditure by $25,723, a 1.45% decrease.
Maintaining the current “Gold Plan” coverage would have resulted in an increased cost of 9.5%.
The employee’s new insurance coverage is a “Silver Plan.”
The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare, has four health insurance categories which set the standard of care – Bronze Plan, Silver Plan, Gold Plan, and Platinum Plan.
The change represents a victory for West University Place Mayor Susan Sample who has spent substantial political capital trying to stifle the growing cost of the city’s employee health care coverage and also bring the level of coverage more in line with what is offered by other municipalities.
West U employees will have the option of buying up to a more robust plan, but they will have to bear the additional cost. Conversely, they can opt for lesser coverage and take part in the cost savings.
City Manager Chris Peifer knew a benefit reduction was inevitable. But the ever-optimistic Peifer said, “Over the course of years the staff of West University Place has always appreciated the City, its elected officials and especially its citizens for their continued appreciation and support in providing their employees with health benefits.” Peifer added, “The compensation and benefits provided its employees allow them to provide for themselves and their families; in an effort to result in the City’s continued ability to attract and retain employees which maintain the quality of life and services that its citizens enjoy and further achieve the goals for its future.”
Water Bill Increase
As expected the council passed a water rate increase. The typical West U water bill will increase by $7.21 per month. The rate increase is needed to generate enough revenue to cover operating costs.