CHINA NEWS: Board holds preliminary talks on health insurance

by Mary Grow

CHINA — China selectmen spent the first hour of their April 3 meeting talking about town employees’ health insurance, with several employees and other residents listening and asking questions. No decision was made; board members emphasized the discussion was preliminary.

Susan Smith, of the Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust (MMEHT), summarized various plans her group offers, working with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and an administrator called Group Dynamic of Falmouth.

Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux invited Smith in response to a request from selectmen to look into saving money on health insurance. Smith explained the concept of health reimbursement accounts, which allow a town to offer a lower-cost plan and repay employees for increased out-of-pocket expenses.

She offered a variety of different plans, and many of the questions opened up still other options. Employees and selectmen needed time to review the choices. Smith is likely to be invited back for a discussion with employees and perhaps another public meeting with selectmen.

After Smith left, board member Jeffrey LaVerdiere asked about talking with representatives of insurance companies other than Anthem, and former Selectman Robert MacFarland asked if town officials had looked into self-insuring.

In other business April 3, L’Heureux said China is looking for one budget committee member and additional members for the China for a Lifetime Committee. The latter is exploring ways to make China more welcoming for people of all ages, including services to help older residents stay in their homes.

Selectman Ronald Breton reported on the significant increase in the draft RSU (Regional School Unit) #18 budget for 2017-18. (ep)

China Village resident Margo Allen attempted to clear up what she saw as conflicting information given at the March 25 town business meeting, when a voter asked whether the appropriation for the causeway project at the head of China Lake included replacing the bridge. One selectman promptly said no; two others said yes. The disagreement continued, with modifications, at the selectmen’s meeting; it appears that the $750,000 voters approved could include the bridge, perhaps with supplemental funds or adjustments to other parts of the project.

The next regular China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, April 17. The Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee, the group tasked with developing further plans for the causeway project and other TIF expenditures approved March 25, is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 10.



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