Touted as a multi-million dollar cost saving initiative, the Bayonne Board of Education and City Hall linked together to enter a inter-local shared prescription program agreement for their employees and BOE members.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The new agreement that was previously passed by the City Council on June 21, and then by the BOE during last night’s meeting, estimates potential savings between $400,000 to $1.5 million.
Tammeisha D. Smith, of Fairview Insurance Agency Associates, indicated that the new insurance plan will have immediate benefits due to a 20 percent decrease on administrative costs.
Currently, the city has approximately 630 employees using BeneCard and 930 BOE workers using a prescription coverage with the New Jersey State Health Benefits Plan.
Beginning on Sept. 1 the BOE and the city will change their current prescription plans to ProAct Pharmacy Benefit Management Program.
While there may be weariness of change, Joe DeMarco, the city’s business administrator, ensured the public of an equal-to-or-better contract that was given to the BOE and city.
“What the board has in this agreement is an equal-to-or-better letter and we are guaranteed that the new program is going to be equal-to-or-better than the existing program,” said DeMArco.
“If we delayed it, we’d lose an opportunity for one month savings, which is [highly] significant,” he said.
Even with the benefit of saving in the first month of implementation, there will be a minor change in prescription vendors.
“The benefits that are to be presented are exactly the same benefits that are in place,” Smith explained.
“There will, however, be a change in vendor on prescription vendor, so that means there could be a slight change in formularies that people have with common prescription vendor – which is Express Scripts.”
In other words, there will be alternative medications to current prescriptions.
However, if a patient is allergic or has any health defects to the given medication, New Jersey has a step therapy program, which controls the cost and risk posed on prescription drugs.