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Brick health costs bite more of the tax bill

Thursday, July 7, 2016   (0 Comments)
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App.com 07/07/16

Health insurance premiums are not just draining wallets at doctors' offices and pharmacies, they are taking a bigger bite out of Brick homeowners' property tax bills. Health insurance costs for municipal workers and police could reach as high as $14.5 million this year, or 14 percent of the $103.3 million municipal budget. That's up 13.2 percent from last year's $12.8 million health care tab. The percentage of the municipal budget devoted to paying health insurance has risen 2.5 percent in the past three years, according to municipal documents. In 2013, the township paid nearly $11.2 million for employee health insurance, or 11.4 of the $98.5 million municipal budget that year.

The reason for the increase is due to a double-digit rise in health care costs, despite the fact that Brick self-insures its employees. “Our prescription plan has gone up 35 percent, and our major medical has gone up 9 percent," Mayor John G. Ducey said. “For this year, there's going to be $4.6 million that comes from employee contributions, which is about 12 percent of the total care," he said. As of June 29, Brick's municipal government has spent $7.06 million to insure 376 employees. Brick's rising health insurance premiums are part of a national trend.

Across the country, health insurance premiums on the state and federal exchanges rose more than 11 percent for silver-level plans this year and stuck consumers with higher deductibles, according to a USA TODAY report. Gold-level plan premiums rose 14 percent. “To maintain the contributions is huge. It really is because we don’t control those percentages of (insurance cost) increases."

 


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