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Town, Unions Agree to New Medical Insurance Plans

The Town of Milford and its various unions this month agreed to a new medical insurance plan that avoided a 6.2 percent cost increase by accepting tiered deductible and increased co-pay charges. Town Treasurer Barbara Auger said the new Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans will take effect on May 1.

Town Counsel Gerald Moody and Auger negotiated the new plans with the unions following the state legislature's passage last year of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 32B, Sections 21-23, Auger explained. The new law governs how health insurance benefits are negotiated. The Board of Selectmen agreed to the new plans on January 9 and the last of the unions agreed on January 13, she explained.

Without the change, individual members would have paid $323 more each year and family members an additional $848 each year, the treasurer said. Instead, the 725 plan users will see their office visit co-pays double from $10 to $20, and specialist visits increase from $10 to a tiered $25, $35, or $45 fee, and "Tier 3" prescription drugs will rise from a $35 to a $40 co-pay, Auger said.

The new agreement provides for each individual coverage member to receive a one-time, $145 "premium holiday" and each family coverage member to receive a one-time, $380 "premium holiday," the treasurer said. In addition, the town will set aside $100,000 in a fund that will help "high users" once they pay their first $500 in deductible costs by paying their next $500 in deductible costs, Auger explained.




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