Savings from insurance shift

In an arrangement expected to save the town millions of dollars in health insurance costs, municipal employees have agreed to shift their coverage to the state’s Group Insurance Commission. The shift, which will take effect July 1, follows months of negotiations between the town and the Lexington Public Employee Committee, which represents municipal and school employees as well as retirees, said Town Manager Carl Valente. The town is expected to save about $2.6 million per year under the new system, but the first year will include a one-time payment of about $1.1 million into a fund to help employees offset changes to their insurance coverage, Valente said. The employees will also see a total of about $1.9 million in savings from lower premiums under the Group Insurance Commission, Valente said. Lexington has been seeking to change health insurance coverage for municipal and school employees because costs were increasing by 8 to 11 percent per year. Valente said the increases could have led to layoffs or service cuts. - Brock Parker