Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer joined most of his colleagues in voting to protect taxpayers by requiring 423 non-bargaining unit, exempt employees to pay for part of the cost of their health insurance for the first time in the county’s history. Today’s vote will save Suffolk County taxpayers $1.4 million through 2013 and would save $32 million over that time period if adopted countywide. This resolution, coupled with other budget mitigation bills approved yesterday, provide recurring revenue for the cash-strapped County which is struggling to deal with a tremendously difficult fiscal crisis.
“This resolution, while not perfect, sends a clear, decisive message to tax payers that we are in this together,” stated Legislator Spencer. “Residents can count on us to protect their pocketbooks and make the necessary sacrifices to bring the county budget under control. This plan may need tweaking in the future but as part of an overall fiscal blueprint it goes a long way to set tone for future negotiations with county unions.”
Paying into health care is vital considering that Suffolk County government ended 2011 with a $60 million deficit, the deficit in 2012 could be as much as $100 million including 315 layoffs built into the budget and 2013 has a projected $300 million deficit. In total, health insurance costs Suffolk County approximately $300 million per year, including coverage of active and retired employees.
Starting on November 1, the policy calls for County employees making less than $50,000 to pay 15 percent of the cost of their health insurance, employees making between $50,000-150,000 to pay 20 percent and employees making more than $150,000 to pay 25 percent. In 2012, the County’s self-insured plan averaged $7,736 for individuals and $16,500 for family coverage.