Bloomberg Puts City’s Health-Care Contract to Bid

NEW YORK (AP) -

Faced with annual health insurance costs of $6.3 billion, New York City is putting its health-care contract out to bid, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday.

Bloomberg said the bid has not gone out yet but current health insurance provider EmblemHealth has already chosen not to seek a rate increase for the next fiscal year.

“It just tells you how grossly overpriced some of these services are,” Bloomberg said on his radio show on WOR. “They’ve raised our rates every year for the last 15 years.”

Bloomberg said his administration is working with the Municipal Labor Committee, a coalition of city unions, to develop a request for proposals for the health insurance contract.

Bloomberg said city workers can get better care at a lower price if the marketplace determines who gets the contract. He touted his financial stewardship of the city over the past 12 years, “but that security is being threatened by health-care costs that have grown at an exponential rate and are swallowing more and more of the budget.”

Bloomberg said health-care costs for the approximately 1 million city employees, retirees and dependents covered under city plans have doubled since he took office in 2002.