Manchester urged to join insurance pool Health care rates may go up 18%

April 29, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

Manchester should join the Carroll County health insurance pool to cut costs that are eating into town employees' salaries, Town Manager Terry Short said last night at a Town Council work session on the budget.

Joining the county insurance pool "would be the best thing for us by a long shot," Mr. Short said.

The council members present agreed that town employees should not have to absorb the expected 18 percent insurance rate increase if the town keeps its current insurance plan for another year.

Each Manchester employee receives $4,500 to spend on health insurance or use as a cash benefit.

About half the town's 13 employees buy insurance through the town.

Mr. Short said the $4,500 insurance allowance was introduced in 1989. Since then, he said, inflation in the cost of health care has reduced its real value to between $2,800 and $3,200.

If the town keeps its current insurance plan, an employee now paying $44 a week will be paying $67 a week in July, said Water and Wastewater Superintendent Steven Miller.

Councilman Gerald Bollinger said the town should consider dropping the $4,500 payment for employees who take it as cash.

"I want to reward the guys who are in the group," Mr. Bollinger said.

Mr. Short said the $4,500 allowance is "an unusual system" that "does cost us more in the long term."

Councilwoman Charlotte Collett said, "I don't want to see the guys lose, insurance-wise and salary-wise, because we'd be up Deep Creek Lake if we lost any employees because of our dumbness."

The council decided to wait for its scheduled meeting today with the Carroll County commissioners to see whether Manchester will be allowed to join the insurance pool.

Carroll County self-insures its employees through a professionally administered insurance pool.

Mr. Short said the commissioners have been told that the town would like to join the insurance pool.

"They have had this request for over a month," he said, and should be able to give the town an answer at today's meeting.

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