Meanwhile, one measure of savings that the mayor is putting on his Christmas list is getting employees into the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC).
Ambrosino said the city could have saved $4 million this year alone by transferring employees from the city’s insurance plan to the state’s larger insurance pool.
The GIC is a pool of municipal and state employees. The state uses that large pool to purchase private insurance plans at a discount. In order for a municipality like Revere to get into the GIC, a certain percentage of the city’s union members have to approve the move.
However, here, it is the Revere Teacher’s Association (RTA) that is blocking the way, and the mayor said he doesn’t expect that to change.
“I wouldn’t expect that to happen unless they’re faced with severe layoffs and that may be the case next year,” he said. “They haven’t faced in the schools what we have faced in city government. They might next year because they’ve survived on one-time Stimulus dollars that won’t be available again…It will probably be another year, though, where we don’t get that savings.”
RTA President Susan Lanza said the association is considering the GIC, but also concerned about what is best for the teachers in the district.
“The RTA is actively researching all aspects of the GIC and will proceed in a manner that will best benefit our membership,” she said in a written statement.
For the RTA and other unions, there is much to research.
While the GIC would save the city quite a bit of money, it would mean more money out of the pockets of those employees who need their health insurance most.
While the premiums are lower for equivalent plans, the co-pays and deductibles are higher.
As the mayor put it, “If you’re healthy, you’ll pay less for equivalent plans in the GIC. If you are not health, you will pay more because the deductibles and co-pays are more. The more you use it, the more you pay.”
In order for the city to get into the GIC next year, the union approvals would have to come by Dec. 1.