March 29 2010                                                                              

Maragos: Audit Finds $7.3M in Health Benefits Savings for 2010

Nassau will save $320,000 per month going forward

An audit of the dependents of Nassau County enrollees in the New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) found savings of approximately $7.3 million for 2010 after the status of the dependents of employees and retirees were updated. The reduced health benefit expense relate to the elimination of dependents from coverage thus changing an enrollee’s coverage from a family policy to the lower cost individual policy.

"The $7.3 million in savings were achieved when an audit of NYSHIP found approximately 1,090 dependents enrolled on policies that the County was paying for were not verified as dependents,” Comptroller Maragos said. “Every effort was made to confirm the eligibility of the questioned dependents before their coverage was dropped.”

After adjustments for the ineligible dependents, the County’s April 2010 bill from NYSHIP included a retroactive adjustment (credit) of $4.4 million going back to February 2009. Furthermore a monthly reduction of premium of approximately $320,000 per month will be applied going forward from April to December of 2010, for an additional estimated savings of $2.9 million in 2010. The total estimated savings to the County for 2010 will be $7.3 million. The County and NYSHIP will continue to review the eligibility of all dependents and further adjustments will be made as appropriate.

The County provides health insurance coverage to current and retired employees through the Empire plan (NYSHIP). The premiums charged to the County vary depending on type of coverage as follows:

Active employees & Retired, non-Medicare eligible

  • Family        $1,330.93 per month
  • Individual     $612.34 per month

Retired, Medicare eligible

  • Family (1 Medicare eligible)  $1,085.94 per month
  • Family (2 Medicare eligible)  $840.98 per month
  • Individual                             $367.37 per month.

Comptroller Maragos stated, “Going forward the County will establish its own database of employee benefits and independently verify dependent status to better control costs. As health benefit costs continue to escalate it is critical that we monitor closely and pay only for eligible employees and dependents.”