The local teachers’ union, the largest collective bargaining unit in Barrington, is now the last one with a contract that provides future employees with health insurance after retirement.
Earlier this month, the town council approved new contracts for police officers, firefighters and dispatchers. The trio of deals take effect July 1, 2013 but each contains an immediate provision that new hires are not eligible for health insurance after retirement.
Barrington Town Manager Peter DeAngelis praised the move as a cost-saving measure. He also said non-union personnel and department of public works employees have worked under the same terms for years.
On the school-side of government, two unions have also surrendered post employment health insurance for newer employees.
The Barrington Educational Support Staff Team (BEST) includes secretaries, clerks, assistants and others. The union’s current deal runs through June of 2014 and stipulates that no employee hired after Aug. 31, 2011 is eligible for post employment health insurance.
The United Steelworkers AFL-CIO-CLC includes custodians and maintenance personnel. That union’s deal is effective through June 2013 and states that no workers hired after June 1, 2010 are eligible for health insurance after retirement.
Employees of both groups are also required to pay the same portion of their insurance cost they were paying at the time of retirement.
District teachers hired after July 1, 1994 are also required to continue whatever co-pay was in effect at retirement for post employment health insurance. Those hired before this date, however, receive insurance for varying periods of time at no cost.
The teachers’ contract is in effect through the end of Aug. 2013.
Comparing the contracts
Most town and school employee contracts limit post-employment health insurance to current employees. The provision has been adopted at varying stages. Here’s a look at the employees who are not eligible:
n DPW: All employees hired after July 1, 1995
n Non-union: All employees hired after Sept. 1, 1994
n Firefighters: All employees hired after Oct. 1, 2012
n Police officers: All employees hired after Oct. 1, 2012
n Dispatchers: All employees hired after Oct. 1, 2012
n School support staff: All employees hired after Aug. 31, 2011
n School maintenance and custodial staff: All employees hired June 1, 2010
n School teachers: New hires still eligible for post-employment health insurance
How much the town pays in medical costs for retirees
Limiting post employment health insurance to current employees is a move that is expected to save money though calculating an exact figure for savings can be difficult. Factors like the length of time before new hires retire, the cost of health insurance and claims experience, can skew the figures. Following are the payments made for municipal employees (schools not included) for the last four years and the projected payment for the current fiscal year.
FY09 — $241,924.08
FY10 — $193,485.93
FY11 — $246,858.47
FY12 — $270,207.67
FY13 — $304,371.74 (projected)