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Delmont renews its UPMC deal

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By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Delmont will spend a bit more next year for health insurance for its five full-time employees.

Officials agreed last week to renew the borough's health-insurance agreement with UPMC early to lock in a reduced price. Despite the discount, the borough still will spend about $5,200 more in premiums and up to $7,500 more in deductible payments, Councilwoman Becky Matesevec said. Although that's about a 17-percent increase over the 2013 cost, it's significantly lower than the 47-percent increase that UPMC initially offered as its renewal rate.

“This is basically the only way we can go,” Matesevec said. “We can't afford a 47-percent increase.”

The borough opted for UPMC's health-reimbursement-arrangement plan, which requires the employer to reimburse employees a portion of their deductible. According to the new borough plan, employees will have a $1,250 deductible; however, the borough will reimburse up to $1,000 of that deductible.

“It's great for the employees,” Matesevec said. “We're just hoping they don't use their whole deductible.

Borough employees pay 15 percent of the premium. For an employee and spouse plan, that cost is $58.24 per bimonthly paycheck.

Delmont does not provide health insurance to its part-time employees and is not required to under the Affordable Health Care Act, Matesevec said. Because the borough has fewer than 50 employees, it is exempt from certain requirements, she said.

Borough officials signed a two-year agreement with UPMC for health insurance in February 2012 and anticipated the change would save the borough about $30,000 during the contract.

Matesevec said waiting until February would result in a larger rate hike and also would require the borough to come into compliance with some aspects of federal health care reform.

“It's buying us a year,” Mayor Gill Sanchez said of the new agreement.

Matesevec warned council that she expects health care rates to skyrocket at the end of 2014.

“Things are going to get ugly next December,” Matesevec said. “The costs are outrageous.”

The new borough plan will go into place on Dec. 1.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627.

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