In his letter to the editor last week, Thomas Walsh asked several important questions regarding the Hicksville retiree self-insurance medical plan in place since 1995 and showing a shortfall in budget funding to pay medical claims of approximately $800,000.
Ever since the school board voted to self-insure Hicksville School retirees, their spouses and dependents, Hicksville taxpayers have had the responsibility of paying all the medical claims, not covered by Medicare, of the most medically vulnerable group. This includes hospital bills, doctor bills, X-rays, therapies and the extraordinary benefit of prescription drugs with no copayment.
When the shortage of funding first came to light publicly in February 1998 (over a year ago), why wasn't an audit done immediately to evaluate the claims process, the accuracy of the claims administrators fees, and the quality control, and district oversight of the program? Was it the recent publicity surrounding the Nassau County scandal and B.P.A. that finally prompted Jay Schwartz and the board majority to abandon B.P.A. and return to the Empire Plan?
And "yes," the insurance broker who handled the self-insurance administrator contracts for our district, both Island Group Administration (I.G.A.) and Benefit Plan Administrators (B.P.A.) is indeed the same broker who handled the Nassau County self-insurance deal and who has declined to answer questions on the advice of his attorney.
Why isn't Board President Schwartz insisting that the interests of the Hicksville taxpayers be protected and that whoever is responsible for this fiasco be held accountable?
Helen M. Lafferty