City: We can save $6 million on healthcare

City officials said they will save more than $6 million next year on health-care costs for less than a quarter of its employees, without increasing worker contributions or "significant" benefit changes.

In an announcement clearly directed at the city's four major municipal unions now working without a contract, the city today at 2 p.m. will notify 5,000 employees not represented by unions - as well as 1,900 union workers who participate in the city-run health care program - that benefits will change beginning Jan. 1.

The city will save nearly $6.3 million by re-bidding medical, prescription, dental and vision programs, by going to a self-insured plan, and reducing some health benefits. Those changes to health benefits include increased co-pays for specialists in some programs, and increased out-of-pocket limits in all programs. The changes will mean no increase in contributions for those employees.

There are 29,000 total employees in the city.

"We're leading by example," said Managing Director Camille Barnett, who said the changes in benefits were not significant. "This is the kind of health plan changes we think makes sense."

Union representatives did not comment immediately, wanting to review the changes first.

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