Christine Stuart photo

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman wants to save municipalities money by lowering their health insurance costs.

Wyman’s plan allows cities and towns to pool their employees with employees in other cities and towns and create one large purchasing pool to drive down insurance costs.

Wyman said Wednesday that municipal employees could see a savings of $60 per employee, per month, if they decide to join the new plan. So far 11 towns have expressed interest, she said.

Cities and towns interested in enrolling in the Enhanced Municipal Employees Health Insurance Plan should call Wyman’s office by April 10.

Wyman said as towns negotiate their budgets she wants this plan to be part of the discussion because not only will it save the towns money it will help lower property taxes.

“This plan is a creative and bold step that addresses the most critical budget issue facing our cities and towns and their taxpayers,” Wyman said in a press release. “It is not just a proposal or a concept—it is a working plan that saves real tax dollars at a time when many our municipalities are in dire need of relief.”

For example, a town with 1,000 employees, including teachers, could expect an average annual savings of approximately $720,000. Those numbers are based on a pool that includes 20,000 lives and actual health insurance costs provided by the 11 interested towns. Wyman said the savings could be higher or lower depending on a town’s claims history.

How is this plan different from the one making its way through the legislature?

The piece of legislation proposed by Majority Leader Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, would allow municipalities, nonprofits, and small businesses to join the state employees health insurance pool, which has the purchasing power of more than 100,000 lives.

While some have described the two plans as competing plans, neither Wyman or Donovan, have classified it that way. Each has said of the other’s plan that it is just another option.

Wyman points out her plan is ready to go July 1, whereas Donovan’s plan is still waiting legislative approval. Donovan points out that the savings in Wyman’s plan depends on how many municipal employees join.