You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

editorial

Municipal health reform yields huge savings

Continue reading below

A million dollars goes a long way in a small city like Haverhill, and when officials announced this spring that the city had reached an agreement with its unions to save $1.1 million by moving employees and retirees into a cheaper health plan, it was a big victory for a municipality that had been forced to cut back services and furlough workers to pay for skyrocketing insurance costs.

Stories like Haverhill’s have played out in dozens of towns across Massachusetts over the last year, thanks to municipal health insurance reforms pushed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo and signed by Governor Patrick. The legislation, which allows cities to move workers to lower-cost plans without union approval, has been even more successful than predicted. Towns and cities have saved $175 million, exceeding the $100 million once projected. Nor are workers getting a bad shake: The new plans are required to be comparable to coverage offered state workers. For instance, in Haverhill worker contribution to premiums rose from 20 to 25 or 30 percent, and co-pays went from $5 to $15 for doctor’s visits.

The savings underscore the waste in the old system, and the wisdom of the reform. Every dollar saved by cities and towns bolsters their ability to repair buildings, provide community services, and avoid layoffs. DeLeo and Patrick, both of whom came under pressure from labor leaders not to support the measure, deserve credit for giving municipalities such an effective tool.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.