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Most of Wyoming County's major unions have approved switching several hundred county employees to a single insurance provider.

County officials said the change could save the county $500,000 next year and ultimately help to reduce the county tax levy.

Employees represented by the Civil Service Employees Association, Wyoming County Community Health Care System supervisory unit and Wyoming County Sheriff's Employees Association for those working at the county jail will be covered by Univera Insurance.

These units, now covered by at least five providers, approved the measure by wide majorities, Wyoming officials said.

Wyoming County leaders said the change aims to find better ways to provide benefits for county employees while saving money. They characterized the action as a move from a health maintenance organization plan to a preferred provider organization plan.

Under preferred provider coverage, many health care needs are provided for a small per-visit fee. Employees can choose to see a doctor who is not on the list.

Wyoming officials said talks on next year's budget are still in the committee stage. The Board of Supervisors will vote on a final county budget later this year.

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