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Fri., Oct. 9
Serving the community of Ogdensburg, New York
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City employees will tackle rising health insurance costs


OGDENSBURG — With expenses rising and showing no signs of abating, the city has created an employee committee to help figure out ways to cut health insurance costs for city workers.

City Manager John M. Pinkerton and eight other city employees met for the first time last week to begin dealing with a growing problem.

“We’re working collaboratively to try and mitigate the cost increases,” he said Tuesday.

The city is self-insured. The city’s bill for health care coverage for its 516 current and retired employees and their dependents in January and February came to $638,071.72.

That two-month total represents 24.08 percent of the $2,650,267 health insurance budget for this year, and reflects a monthly average bill of $319,035.86. March health insurance costs have not yet been calculated.

The city’s health care budgets have often exceeded projections in recent years, with the rising cost of prescription drugs a notable factor.

Last year, according to the city comptroller’s office, the total bill was $2,652,387.51, exceeding the budgeted $2,500,068 by $152,320

Mr. Pinkerton said the employee committee’s agenda of items for discussion includes prescription drug costs and wellness programs.

“We’re looking at different options,” he said.

In addition to the city manager, the other committee members are: City Comptroller Philip A. Cosmo; Coralee Barrett, Mr. Pinkerton’s secretary; Assistant Fire Chief Ronald D. Bouchard; Police Detective Sgt. Robert H. Wescott; Police Patrolman Mark T. Kearns; Patrick McCarthy of the Public Works Department; Matt R. Denner of the Parks and Recreation Department; and Julie Frazier-Gebo of the Ogdensburg Public Library and Frederic Remington Art Museum.

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