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Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Stone Harbor Looks to Ease State Health Care Premium Shock

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By Vince Conti

STONE HARBOR – At its council meeting Oct. 18, Stone Harbor heard a report on how the borough could lessen the shock of the 21% increase in State Health Care Plan premiums for 2023. Mark Senior of Marsh McLennan proposed a strategy very similar to the one being embraced in neighboring Avalon
The proposal calls for encouraging employees to migrate to a higher copay and deductible plan to avoid the 21% increase. The employee would not be harmed by the added costs of the higher deductible plan because the borough would increase the employee’s Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) to offset additional out-of-pocket expenses. 
The new proposal would continue to allow workers to roll over unused HRA funds up to the level they can today. Any unused money from the additional funds placed in the HRA account as part of this migration to a new plan would revert back to the borough at the end of the year. The goal is to have the employee suffer no loss in benefits in the change of plans while lowering premium costs for both the employee and the borough.
Marsh estimates that the transition to a new plan would result in a cost increase of 6.9% for the 2023 year. It is the kind of year where an almost 7% increase is saving. 

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