Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Annual Report 2017: Insurance Advisory Committee

The Annual Report is compiled and published each year to be ready for voters to obtain at the November election. A PDF copy is also posted online and available for viewing our downloading. 

The following is a text representation of the printed pages 94-95 (actually 101-102 of 264)


Each of the municipal and school unions, as well as retired employees has a seat on the Town of Franklin Insurance Advisory Committee (IAC). 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, a changing health care environment, and available financial resources.

With the Affordable Care Act continuing to evolve or be replaced, we anticipate changes, administrative challenges, and premium increases in the coming years. After several meetings to discuss claims trend and customer service questions, the various plans were modified modestly and renewed with Tufts with less than a 1% increase to HMO premium, the plan that covers 95% of our non-Medicare eligible employees. This saved employees and the Town significantly. We will monitor claims and medical trends to share with the IAC in the coming year and continue to work to provide the best benefit possible at the best rate available.

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 an overnight stay in the hospital.

The Town provides dental benefits on an employee paid basis. The Committee again selected Guardian Life Insurance as the provider for its dental plan with 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 pre-tax 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 consistently brought good questions to the process and have been very effective in exploring alternatives, and making recommendations. We appreciate their willingness to do what it takes to manage the benefits and costs. The insurance environment continues to evolve and it seems inevitable that costs will continue to rise. In the coming year we hope we will be able to reach out through the IAC committee to other employees so that there is wider understanding of benefit plans.

Respectfully submitted

Stephanie Lutz

Human Resource Director

Annual Report 2017: Insurance Advisory Committee
Annual Report 2017: Insurance Advisory Committee

You can find the online copy at the Town of Franklin webpage

and specifically for 2017

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