Shrewsbury selectmen approve 7 percent rise in health care

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By Bonnie Adams Government Editor

Shrewsbury – The Board of Selectmen approveda7percentincrease in health care premiums for fiscal year (FY) 2012 for all active employees and non-Medicare retirees at the board's April 4 meeting. The decision, which affects a total of 744 plans, was reached on the recommendation of the town's Insurance Advisory Committee, according to Town Manager Daniel Morgado.

Before announcing their approval, the selectmen first debated the issue in executive session at the meeting. When they returned, they announced that the increase had passed. At that time, Morgado also noted that the increase was actually less than the 10 percent increase he had anticipated would be required when he had initially drafted the FY 2012 budget. The cost of health insurance for the town is projected to be $7.7 million for the next year – currently it is $7.16 million.

Approximately 86 percent of the town employees and retirees covered by the town's insurance are on Fallon Community Health Plan (FCHP), Morgado said. FCHP Select Family monthly premiums will increase from $1,312 to $1,404; FCHP Select Individual from $487 to $521; FCHP Direct Family from $1,220 to $1,305; and FCHP Direct Individual from $453 to $485.

Those not on FCHP are on Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. They also will see rises in their health premiums. Individual plans will rise from $545 per month to $586 and family plans will see an increase from $1,422 to $1,529.

In other business, the selectmen approved a transfer of a Wine & Malt Beverages Retail Package Goods License from Raumit, Inc. d/b/a Mickey's Mini Mart to Kuma Ventures, Inc. d/b/a Mickey's Mini Mart.

Kushal S. Patel, who will be the new owner/manager at the store, which is located on 507 Boston Turnpike, appeared before the selectmen for the official public hearing on the matter. He assured the board that he would be there for the majority of the hours the store is open and when he is not, one of his relatives will be present. Patel also stressed that all of his employees will be instructed on the rules and regulations of selling alcohol.

Patel had initially asked for the license to be valid for the hours of 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m., as it currently was under the old management.

Selectman Ben Tartaglia noted that the new Price Chopper store on South Street currently has a license to sell alcohol until 9 p.m. on Sundays. After Patel agreed the extra hours would be beneficial for his store as well, the selectmen amended the motion and then unanimously approved the transfer of license.