The Citizens Campaign today announced that the successes of its citizen leadership graduates throughout New Jersey to convince towns and school districts to adopt the Campaign’s “Best Price Insurance” law or embrace the principles contained in the model law have already resulted in over $22 million of savings.
The savings are broken down by municipality and school district below:
- Cherry Hill School District - $6 million (2 years)
- City of Camden - $10.6 (2 years)
- Toms River School District - $1 million
- Perth Amboy School District & City Government - $5 million combined for 1 year
- City of Hoboken- $100,000
The Citizens Campaign’s Chairman Harry Pozycki said, “We are encouraged that citizens all over New Jersey are taking up the challenge to advance The Citizens Campaign’s waste-cutting cost-saving solutions like Best Price Insurance and bringing about much needed financial relief to our towns and school boards. That’s why we are expanding our support for citizens who want to help their towns save big bucks with the Best Price Insurance law.
The Citizens Campaign reported today that it is stepping up its education and support efforts on Best Price Insurance with citizens now advancing this model law in Newark, Essex County, and Jersey City. Initiatives are ready to go in many other New Jersey municipalities.
The Citizens Campaign today also released an 8-minute newsreel to educate and empower citizens on how to save money by reforming the wasteful government insurance practices of New Jersey’s towns and school districts. This video and an accompanying step-by-step guide are now available on demand.
The Citizens Campaign also announced it will be hosting a series of regional conferences and webinars to empower citizens to cut government waste in their communities.
The first conference is scheduled for Tuesday, October 23rd at Middlesex County College. The conference will highlight innovative ways citizens can cut waste, and gives them the tools to pass these ideas in their own town. Confirmed speakers include State Comptroller Matthew Boxer;Director of Shared Services for N.J. Department of Community Affairs Nancy Malool; and Independent Center Founder Mark Magyar.
The Citizens Campaign model “Best Price Insurance” law provides major cost-saving by bringing about robust competition for hiring broker and insurance consultants by both mandating a cost-comparison of insurance plans including the State Health Benefits Plan and Joint Insurance Funds, and specifying that all brokers and insurance consultants be hired to work exclusively for the town or school district on a flat-fee basis. This is a dramatic change from the usual practice where brokers advise local governments on packages while being paid a commission by the insurance companies—a practice that creates an incentive to recommend more expensive policies and to give the State Health Benefits plan short-shrift because it does not pay brokers fees.
Specifically, The Citizens Campaign’s “ready to adopt” Best Price Insurance law requires that town governments or school boards purchase all insurance services and coverage through a fully competitive procedure based on a publicly advertised request for proposals. It also requires that if the lowest price quotation is not selected, that a detailed explanation shall be provided. It further mandates that the public entity consider the prices of any joint insurance fund and the State Health Benefits Plan.
The Citizens Campaign’s model law also places insurance broker and consulting contracts under the protection of pay-to-play reform laws. In most local governments, brokers and consultants are “designated” without any official contractual agreement, thereby exempting these professionals from traditional pay to play contribution restrictions
The large savings potential of adopting local insurance reform is confirmed by a recent report issued by the New Jersey State Comptroller. It highlighted the uncompetitive processes used by many municipalities and estimated that $100 million could be saved each year by municipalities and counties by eliminating the inherent conflict of interest present when insurance companies pay brokers who are advising towns and ensuring that the State Health Benefits Plan, with its economies of scale and absence of brokers’ commissions, is given due consideration.
The Citizens Campaign statewide local insurance efforts were initiated by the efforts of Cherry Hill citizens. Two years ago a group of residents in Camden County, including Citizens Campaign Camden County Chair Bob Shinn, came together to devise a way to create a more competitive and honest way for their communities to obtain insurance. They filed OPRA requests, calculated savings, and lobbied their local officials for months. From their efforts, the Cherry Hill School Board saved $6 million dollars on health insurance. The Citizens Campaign’s Law and Policy Task Force developed their concept into a model law and two years later, local citizens have gotten nearly a dozen government entities to follow suit.
The Citizens Campaign is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that empowers citizens to build solutions and get results that make government work better and cost less. The Citizens Campaign model reform and cost-savings laws were developed by its Law and Policy Task Force, a non-partisan group of legal and policy experts with government experience informed by the ideas of citizens working to better their hometowns.