July 17, 2017 | Bayonne BOE, city team up to enter shared prescription drug plan

BAYONNE — The Bayonne Board of Education and City Hall have inked an agreement to enter into a shared-prescription drug plan for their employees, which officials say will save taxpayer money.

The two entities will pool their insured individuals to capitalize on potential savings for the city as a whole under the new agreement, which was passed by the City Council on June 21 and by the Bayonne BOE during their meeting last night.

“When you buy in bulk, you get a better deal,” said Joe DeMarco, the city’s business administrator. “So we’re joining forces with the Board of Education, and as a result there will be savings.”

The city employs roughly 650 people, while the Board of Education has more than 900 employees people insured under its plans.

Beginning Sept. 1, the BOE and city will switch from their previous prescription plans — the city used Benecard, while the BBOE used the New Jersey State Health Benefits plan — to the ProAct Pharmacy Benefit Management Program.

Multiple officials in the school district and city said that there will be little to no disruption in the switch of employees from their current plans.

“We have an equal-to or greater-than guarantee from (the insurance broker) that it will be the same level of  benefits and formularies that our people are accustomed to,” BOE Business Administrator Leo Smith said.

“The difference, if it’s done correctly, really should just be swapping out your card — otherwise there will be no other effects,” DeMarco said.

Tammeisha D. Smith, an insurance consultant for Fairview Insurance Agency Associates — which brokered the new deal — said at the BOE meeting last night that there may be slight changes to the prescription vendors and the formularies, but said that anybody who sees changes to their formularies for the drugs they are taking will be able to get a complimentary refill of the drug while receiving adequate time to make the switch to a new drug of the same clinical category.

As a result of the shared plan, Bayonne will have “potential savings of at least $400,000 to approximately $1.5 million,” with immediate savings right off the bat due to a 20 percent decrease in administrative costs, the insurance consultant said at the BOE meeting last night.

“By joining with the BBOE for insurance purposes, you can bargain for a better price, and that’s what we did,” DeMarco said.