Borough board OKs switch in health care providers

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By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Mayor and Burgesses last week approved changing health care providers for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Director of Human Resources John Lawlor said if the borough stayed with ConnectiCare the borough’s health care cost would have increased to about $20.9 million. The borough received an offer from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield for roughly $19.8 million, which is an increase of 8.5%, he said.

The board unanimously voted to switch to Anthem.

Lawlor said the switch reduces the increase in health care by about $632,000 for the Board of Education and $414,000 for the borough.

“We’re in good shape for what we’re getting in the savings compared to what we would’ve had to endure,” Burgess Charles Marenghi said.

Lawlor said the borough has had a lot of high medical claims recently due to illnesses. He anticipates that trend will continue.

The borough worked with Brown & Brown Insurance, an independent insurance brokerage, to negotiate for health care coverage. The company created a purchasing group with Naugatuck and seven other Connecticut towns and boards of education, Lawlor said.

Lawlor said Anthem’s offer included a guarantee that its renewal rate for the 2021-22 fiscal year won’t exceed 7.9%. ConnectiCare’s renewal offer did not include a second-year guarantee, he said.

“We’ve been very happy with the service from Connecticare but we have no choice but to switch to a solid new company that we’re all familiar with, with over $1 million in savings,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.