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District Tracks Health Insurance Premium Hike

While the numbers are still fluid, health insurance costs are set to rise again. It's still too early to know just how much, but Huntington School Board members have been told that projections issued by the New York State Health Insurance Plan indicate a double digit increase in premiums charged by the Empire Plan is on the horizon.

"During the year, the New York State Health Insurance Plan, which is run by the New York State Department of Civil Service, issues quarterly projections of where the Empire premium rats will be in the following year," said David H. Grackin, Huntington's assistant superintendent for finance and management operations. The projected increases range from 10.1 percent to 16.1 percent or between $1.138 million to $1.815 million.

During the Huntington School Board's October 3 meeting, Superintendent James W. Polansky used a PowerPoint slide to display the recent year-by-year trend in health insurance premiums. In 2010/11 the district was hit with a 12.5 percent increase amounting to $977,063.

"The Department of Civil Service comes out with four 'net premium increase' estimates," Mr. Grackin said. "At this point we are in a holding pattern until the Department of Civil Service issues its final projections, which will occur in late November or December for the 2012 calendar year."

The four premium increase estimates include:

• Department projection at 10.1 percent or $1.138 million.

• Carrier optimistic projection at 10.4 percent or $1.172 million.

• Carrier best estimate projection at 13.6 percent or $1.533 million.

• Carrier pessimistic projection at 16.1 percent or $1.815 million.

"These premium increases are inclusive of the current employer share of our premiums, which range from 60 to 85 percent of the premium," Mr. Grackin said.

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