News Details - Health Insurance Consortium Approves Union Representation on Board of Directors
The Greater Tompkins County Municipal Health Insurance Consortium today approved labor/union representation on its Board of Directors, as is required by Article 47 of New York State Insurance Law. Tompkins County is a member of the health insurance consortium.
The Board, by unanimous vote, agreed to include two labor/union officials as voting representatives and committed to increase such representation to three if the number of municipal members on the Consortium increases to 17. Currently, 13 municipalities are members of the Consortium.
It also affirmed provisions of the Intermunicipal Cooperative Agreement governing Consortium operations that establishes a Joint Committee on Plan Structure and Design to consist of representatives of each collective bargaining unit representing those enrolled in the plan and representatives of each municipal participant. The Joint Committee is to review board actions related to benefit structure and design and to develop findings and make recommendations to the Board on such matters.
The Consortium Board will inform labor groups of each participating municipality of its decision, requesting each to sign off on the provisions. Representatives of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) have indicated the arrangement would be acceptable to that union.
Once labor groups have communicated their positions, the Consortium will notify the New York State Insurance Department, which is still considering the Consortium’s application for a Certificate of Authority. The Tompkins municipal consortium would be the first health insurance consortium to start up since Article 47 was adopted. The question of union representation is one issue that has delayed a decision by the Insurance Department.
Board members also continued to discuss the issue of reserve requirements and how to meet the $2.2 million in advance reserves called for by the Insurance Department. Several municipalities have informally indicated they could post about $1.3 million in advance premiums up front, with the Board proposing that some members pay their share of the reserves over a five-year period. As an alternative, the Consortium has also asked the Insurance Department to consider a surety bond to cover any shortfall in reserves. The Insurance Department has not yet responded regarding either of the requested reserve options.
Caroline Town Supervisor Don Barber, Chair of the Consortium Board, notes that the Consortium, once operating, would immediately save money for both municipalities and their employees, and would serve as a working model for other municipal consortiums to manage health insurance benefits, program delivery, and costs.