SHIRLEY -- Health benefits representative Jill Gallant-Shaw, of MIIA, the insurance group the town belongs to, made a presentation whose aim was to give an overview of the Massachusetts Municipal Health Insurance Reform Act of 2011, or Chapter 32B, focusing on the three sections that changed the law, Sections 21, 22 and 23.

Basically, it's a "roadmap" of what you need to know and understand" about the new regulations, she said.

Acting Chairman David Swain said the idea was to listen to the options for cost-saving changes to the plan, although the town had no such intent at present.

While not the most lucrative around, the town has a "very rich" employee insurance plan, Gallant-Shaw said. So much so that plans like that -- with no deductible, low co-payments and comprehensive coverage -- are not even sold now.

The town has reduced its share of premium costs, Treasurer Kevin Johnston said, bargaining with its unions for a 75/25 percentage split a few years ago, with the town still picking up the heavier end, but still paying less than previously, when the split was 90/10.

Insurance hasn't been a sticking point in union negotiations, he said, which is one reason he's in no hurry to see the board make changes, which under the new law municipalities can do without collective bargaining.

Not that changes won't come, Johnston said. But it's a long and exacting process with a rigid timeline, as the MIIA representative spelled out, and there simply isn't time.


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Besides, the Insurance Advisory Committee has yet to make its annual recommendation to the board. The state-mandated IAC consists of one representative of each union and one retiree.