Cost-cutting gets creative in Camillus, Jordan

For some local municipalities, finding savings in health care costs this year meant preventing other, more painful cuts in other areas.

In the village of Jordan, Village Clerk Linda Boehm said switching to a new health care provider meant slight increases in co-payment fees but a $20,000 savings each year.

The village provides health care to five full-time employees and one retiree; three retirees are able to subsidize costs through medicare.

"We were looking for ways to save money," Boehm said simply.

Jordan Mayor Dick Platten said this wasn't the first time the village has sought a more affordable health care provider since he's been in office, but it was the first time a switch created such a savings.

"This is the first time we've gotten into that kind of savings," Platten said.

Platten said Trustee Lee Badman suggested the board contact the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce in looking for alternative providers, which turned out to be a great move.

The board met with two representatives of Benefit Specialists of New York, who found the most cost effective plan comparable to what the village employees already received.

"They did just a nice job of being able to research and find a better way of doing it. Our employees are virtually at the same level, and overall the plans are very comparable," Platten said.

A big change

The Camillus Town Board last month approved a switch from Excellus to United Health Care, which will save the town about $300,000 annually in health care costs for the approximately 100 employees.

Camillus Town Supervisor Mary Ann Coogan said the impetus for seeking a new provider actually came last year when Excellus initially raised the town's rates, but that union negotiations prevented the town from securing a new provider.

This year, though, was a different story.

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