Broome County has pioneered a multi-county cooperative purchasing initiative and Request for Proposal (RFP) for Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) programs. The program is designed for Medicare-aged retirees of governmental employers that have an obligation to provide such coverage throughout the State of New York. The primary purpose of the Alliance is to expand on New York States’ County-Wide Shared Services Initiative (CWSSII) and implement a “best practices in purchasing” approach to providing sustainable retiree health coverage. The goal is to create a program that allows each entity to equal or better coverage levels to minimize or eliminate disruption while achieving the savings of the pooled purchasing power of the Alliance.

The Obligation:

Many governmental employers in Upstate NY have an obligation to provide retiree health insurance to employees who meet certain service requirements (Typically 20 years of full-time service) as specified in their respective employment or collective bargaining agreements. As these retiree populations and costs continue to grow, many municipalities are seeking a program that will help them control these costs and allow them to continue to keep the promise to provide these valuable programs to their retirees in the future. Many counties, towns, villages, cities, and school districts that have smaller numbers of retirees (under 1000), have very little negotiation leverage with respect to their retiree health coverage and premiums, and have the most to gain from the pooled purchasing component.

The Solution

Broome County, through the formation of this cooperative purchasing alliance, effectively pooled the purchasing power with other municipalities to reduce costs, risks, and future rate instability by creating a sustainable system of securing competitive coverage and rates for participating entities Medicare retirees. This cooperative purchasing initiative is referred to as the “Broome County Purchasing Alliance” (BCPA or Alliance). Broome County acts as the purchasing agent and pooled the purchasing power through collaboration with other counties, towns, villages, cities, school districts, and other eligible governmental entities throughout New York State. This system for purchasing provides the platform to stabilize costs and bring higher quality, comprehensive benefits coverage. The benefits gained to smaller groups include a multiple-year rate guarantee, potential for lower premiums, more competitive options, the RFP process minimizes staff time in the future with this process being handled by the Alliance.

The requirements to participate in this Alliance are designed to comply with the County-Wide Shared Services Initiative for eligibility in shared services matching grants, if available.

Broome County will collect necessary data through the SPANY.ORG portal and submit it to United HealthCare on behalf of the Alliance to secure coverage for entities participating in this Alliance.

BCPA Eligibility and Participation Requirements

Eligibility extends to New York State governmental entities, including without limitation, counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts, and community colleges that currently have an obligation to provide and contribute a minimum of 50% of the retiree health premium, and must have a minimum of 25 Medicare retirees participating on their plan.  Each entity must register through SPANY.ORG website, register their account and successfully submit their data through the portal by August 1st, 2022.