Edgartown selectmen offer option to trim health care costs


Edgartown selectmen approved a new medical insurance plan for retired town employees Monday, in an effort to trim costs. All three selectmen agreed to offer retired town employees supplemental Medicare insurance from Tufts Health Plan, as an option to Medex.

Human resources coordinator Marilyn Wortman said the supplemental plan carries deductibles for some medical services, but offers a wider range of services at a lower price than the current plan offered by Medex.

She estimated that beginning July 1, retirees would pay $83 per month for the Tufts supplemental insurance. The cost of the current plan would rise to $110 per month. She said the town would save $963 annually for every retiree who switched to the new insurance plan.

Retirees may choose either plan. The town could require retirees to accept the lower-cost plan, but for now selectmen prefer to provide a choice of two plans with different features.

“We’ve always had a choice,” chairman Art Smadbeck said in a phone conversation with The Times Tuesday. “Things haven’t gotten so bad that we have to start balancing the budget on the backs of town retirees.”

The town’s share of the Medex plan annually, per retiree, would be $3,960. The town’s cost for the Tufts plan is $2,997.

Currently there are 60 retired town employees receiving benefits. Ms. Wortman expects that number to rise significantly in the coming year.

The town’s share of Medicare costs in the 2012 fiscal year budget approved in April is $138,000. Health insurance for all town employees will cost taxpayers $2,450,000.

In other business Monday, selectmen praised town treasurer Sharon Willoughby, during her annual performance evaluation.

“You’ve been doing a great job for ten years,” selectman Michael Donaroma said. “We hope you’re here for another ten.”

Selectman Margaret Serpa recused herself from the performance review. Ms. Willoughby is her sister.