Huge Health Benefits Increase Coming To Atlantic County, NJ?
We have obtained a copy of a letter sent yesterday, Monday, October 17, 2022 from Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson to the Atlantic County Board of Commissioners.
The letter details disturbing information about planned massive increases in the state health benefits plan.
Levinson explains that for the past 18 years, the average annual rate increase has been less than 3 percent.
Over many years, “the county has been successful in working with 20 of our 23 bargaining units to reduce costs,” said Levinson.
This is no small feat, as the local and county officials have no representation on the New Jersey State Health Commission.
We have also learned that the on September 14, 2022, the State Health Benefits Commission approved a rate increase for the 2023 local governments employer group of 22.8%.
This exorbitant increase represents 8 years worth of increases in one year.
Levinson is blowing the whistle and letting the board of commissioners and thus making the public aware of this potential huge increase.
“To add salt to the wound, we later leamed that the SHBC has been aware of the pending rate increases since February but withheld that information. We also learned the governor negotiated a deal with the state unions to limit their rate increase to 3%” said Levinson.
“Had local governments been aware of the circumstances, we may have also been able to negotiate,” said Levinson.
“But when you only are notified in September and you are required to submit your 2023 budgets in mid-January, your options are extremely limited. Why weren’t we given the same opportunity as the state unions?” asked Levinson.
Levinson is also questioning why state unions were able to negotiate a deal with a 3% annual rate cap for increases; Yet, local governments are poised to get hit with an almost 23 percent state health benefits increase?
Levinson is currently projecting a $ 4.2 million increase for the employee state health benefits, which is beyond outrageous.
“It other savings cannot be realized, the $ 4.2 million increase in health beneft costs equates to a 1.1-cent tax rate Increase with current employees and a 1.77-cent tax rate increase with vacancies included. Atlantic County employees will not only be required to pay more in cost share contributions, but may also pay more in property taxes, thus taking it on the chin not once, but twice,” said Levinson.
Here is the full letter from Levinson to The Atlantic County Board of Commissioners:
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