Hingham: Health care reform measures out to big savings; Aquarion update

The town of Hingham anticipates health insurance premiums will decrease 8.5% under new municipal reform. During the town’s economic forum Sunday afternoon, Selectman Laura Burns explained a new plan for town employees means lower premiums but higher co-pays and deductibles.

The cheaper plan lessens the burden on Hingham’s budget but Selectman Burns stated they want to keep a 50-50 split between the town and employees.

“So what we propose to do is to share our savings that the town will have with employees, not just in the first year but ongoing,” said Burns

Hingham Selectmen have created an Employee Committee to help decide if savings will be dispersed equally or on a need-basis. After extra money is distributed, Hingham will save $600,000 annually with the new health care plan.

Hingham is also moving forward with plans to purchase Aquarion Water Company.

According to Selectman Bruce Rabuffo, the requested feasibility study to investigate buying the town’s water system from Aquarion will answer many unknowns including the purchasing price and how surrounding towns will play into public ownership, “If we buy it, we buy the whole water company. And that whole water company serves not only Hingham [but] all of Hull, North Cohasset, and a section of Norwell. What’s the subsequent relationship? We haven’t gotten that far yet.”

At the forum, residents asked Selectmen if breaking away from Aquarion will be similar to the five year litigation the town of Oxford endured.

“Our preferred approach would be to negotiate and we have so suggested that to the Aquarion Water Company,” stated Rabuffo

Selectman Rabuffo further explained Hingham has the right to purchase the water system, where it was unsure if Oxford did.

(Selectman Laura Burns)

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About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.