Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Annual Report - 2015: Insurance Advisory Committee

Each of the municipal and school unions, as well as retired employees has a seat on the Town of Franklin Insurance Advisory Committee. It provides recommendations to the Town Administrator on health and dental plans. Meetings are an opportunity for employees from the unions to learn about insurance products, industry trends, and to help identify ways to meet employee needs within the framework of the Affordable Care Act, Massachusetts General Law, and available financial resources.

With the further portions of the Affordable Care Act from the Federal Government on the horizon, we anticipate changes, administrative challenges, and premium increases in the coming years. The original quote for a renewal with Blue Cross Blue Shield was in the double digits – an increase unacceptable to the Committee and the Town.

With the assistance of a consultant we requested quotes from other carriers, and received a very competitive quote for nearly an identical plan from Tufts Health Plan. The Committee verified that the match with current providers was very high and elected to make the change. We sponsored informational sessions at six locations so that all employees and retirees had an opportunity to talk with Tufts representatives in person.

The Town continued a Health Reimbursement Arrangement to help offset hospital in patient costs. We are happy to report that few of our employees required in patient care. The Town provides dental benefits on a totally employee paid basis. The Committee again selected Guardian Life Insurance as the provider for its dental plan no increase to premiums. Approximately 300 employees have elected this benefit.

The Flexible Spending Account vendor was retained. This vendor provides debit cards for employees to use for immediately payment. Employees can avoid an additional out of pocket expense by using the cards. The plan runs on a September 1 through August 31 calendar to more closely coordinate with the Health Insurance Plan and with the school year. We hope the participation in this plan will grow as employees recognize the tax savings available to them, and become more experienced in planning for medical and dependent care costs. Since this program exists on a tax exempt basis, changes at the federal level may cause plan changes. We will monitor any activity about Sec. 125 of the Tax Code to ensure we remain in compliance.

Participants on the IAC brought good questions to the process and have been very effective in exploring alternatives, and making recommendations. The IAC plans to continue its work gaining knowledge about the full insurance program. In the coming year we hope we will be able to reach out through this committee to other employees so that there is greater understanding of benefit plans.

Respectfully Submitted

Stephanie Lutz
Human Resource Director

Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building

Additional information can be found on the Town of Franklin - Human Resources page


"Prior to November 1 of each year, the Town Clerk shall cause to be prepared and made available to the inhabitants of the Town an annual report for the preceding fiscal year which shall include: the annual Town budget, the reports of all Town officers, the records of all Town Council bylaw amendments and resolutions, an abstract of births, marriages and deaths, and the wages, salaries, or other compensation of all Town employees." [Added 5-2-2012 by Bylaw Amendment 12-681]

Shared from the full and complete PDF version of the Town of Franklin Annual Report for 2015

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