City gets surplus money from healthcare plan

The city got about $212,000 more than it expected Thursday when officials received a check from unused healthcare premiums.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said that the unused money from the Pennsylvania Municipal Healthcare Consortium will be put in next year’s general fund.

The savings resulted from claims that went unused among the city’s employees, according to William E. Nichols Jr., city director of finance.

The city signed on with the new healthcare plan administered by The Benecon Group, of Lititz, at the beginning of last year, which helped put a stop to double-digit increases, according to Nichols, Campana and city Human Resources Director Michelle Casale.

Instead of insuring just city employees and their families, the consortium spreads risk over thousands of individuals in multiple locations.

“I think this was one of the best decisions in our administration,” Campana said. “The taxpayers are the real winners.”

The mayor stopped short of saying the infusion of unexpected cash would avert a future tax increase.

“We’re putting it right into the general fund. This should soften the blow in regards to expenses for next year,” he said.

Nichols was a bit more optimistic.

“This goes a long way to prevent a tax increase next year,” he said.

City employees’ and their dependents’ benefits remain the same under the new healthcare package, according to Nichols.

“Nothing has changed. Benefits change none whatsoever,” he said.

The city could see even more surplus money coming in from the arrangement – up to $150,000, Nichols said – because the check received represents only 75 percent of the claim year.

Benecon’s services are used in other municipalities such as Muncy, Loyalsock, Montoursville and Old Lycoming Township.