Higher insurance rates for employees, retirees to be considered by county legislators

Legislative majority leader George Warner (R-LD-15), left, and Cortland County administrator Rob Corpora speak at a county committee meeting on Tuesday. (Photo via Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

The health insurance rate for employees and retirees in Cortland County could see an increase, based on a recommendation voted on by county legislators at a committee meeting on Tuesday.

The resolution will be sent to the whole legislature to vote on at its meeting next Thursday (Sept. 28) at 6 p.m.

Legislators on Tuesday approved, by a 6-1 vote, a 10.3% rate hike in insurance costs as a cost-saving measure that would prevent a loss of $1.3 million in other areas of the county’s proposed 2024 budget.

As a measure to offset rising costs, the county would have to raise an additional $1.3 million, which would signify an increase of about 3.4% to county residents’ tax bills. The estimations were made based on the county’s $38.5 million in taxes levied for the 2024 budget.

Legislative majority leader Majority Leader George Wagner (R-LD-15) asked what it could cost the county to not set this increased rate. County Administrator Rob Corpora said the county would be on the hook for $1.3 million. 

“Each year, the increase is re-evaluated,” Corpora said. “Last year it went up 3.5% so it fluctuates with the market.”

Wagner asked if 10% increases are common.

“It has gone up 10% before in the past,” said Laurie Leonard, the county’s personnel officer. “So I've seen different studies that say 6-12% is the average right now nationwide. But there are different rates based upon different plans.”

Below is a look at how insurance plans for county workers and retirees could look like starting January 2024, if the measure is approved: