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SWITCH TO SINGLE HEALTH INSURER COULD COST CITY MORE IN LONG RUN

I have been following the issue of the cost-saving benefits of switching the Buffalo teachers to a single health insurance carrier.

The single-carrier proposal is troubling. By eliminating the rest of the insurance competition, the chosen carrier would be free to increase costs and decrease services in subsequent years, thus incurring higher costs for the city in the long run. If the proposed contract is designed to put extra dollars into the school system for just the upcoming fiscal year, the plan is a waste.

Competition for services is a good thing. Nothing specific about the single-carrier option's duration, nor its long-term commitment to cost-containment for the city has been cited. Single-bid contractors rarely end up being cost-efficient. I can't help but think of Halliburton in this regard.

Obtaining multiple bids for similar services is advantageous. A single-insurer plan would be cheaper for the city only if the contract is awarded with a long-term cost-saving plan securely in place.

Barbara Coady

Kenmore