Self Insurance Committee leader steps down
Kane, 90, will remain a member
By Leslie Hutchison (Record-Journal staff)
Board of Education member Jill Notar-Francesco has served with Kane on the committee for two years. “He’s kind and generous. He’s put a lot of effort into the commu-nity,” she said. “He’s saved the town tons of money.” While Kane is stepping down as chairman, he’s not leaving the committee. “When you have a change of leadership, you have new ideas, but we’ll have him as a resource,” Notar-Francesco said. “He will be a guiding influence.” Kane decided earlier this month not to accept the chairmanship again. He joked about the reason: “To accept another two years would be quite a feat. I don’t want to go out feet first.”
John P. Moise has served with Kane for two non-consecutive terms. “He brought insurance issues to light in town. He is a wealth of knowledge,” Moise said. He said he’s glad Kane is staying on the committee. “Whoever is chair will need his bank of knowledge to move forward.” The town’s employee wellness program is an initiative Kane helped start in 2008 as a cost-saving measure. He said the committee will soon present plans to the Town Council for a new program for employees to support healthy choices. “We’re going to offer incentives, money,” Kane said.
The town’s health insurance budget has grown from $1 million when Kane joined the committee in 1983 to about $20 million today. More than 3,000 town employees and their dependents are insured by the town, he said. This year’s insurance costs are expected to grow again, from $18 million to $21 million. Kane said 70 percent of that cost is from the Board of Education. “The BOE is quite concerned” about the increase, he said. As health insurance costs continue to gobble up a bigger piece of the budget pie, Kane believes the wellness incentives could be a solution. “Obesity is a big problem,” he said. “Smoking has been, but it’s on the decline.”
Kane has studied how other businesses and municipalities have decreased their health insurance costs. He said a program by Safeway grocery stores has kept that company’s insurance costs level for four years. “They saved millions,” he said. Poor health is costly because it increases use of health services. Kane believes if employees exercise and follow health guidelines, the town could see its health insurance costs level off in the next few years. - firstname.lastname@example.org