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Health Insurance Trust Board approves framework for dismantling

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Left to right: Thomas Quackenbush, Darryl Purinton, Dominick Stagliano. Photo by John Becker

FONDA – Montgomery County’s health insurance trust is still around, a year after it was supposed to be dissolved, but now a framework exists for it to be dismantled.

The exact timing, however, could hinge on the outcome of a lawsuit against the trust.

Members of the trust’s board of directors voted Monday to approve a “framework and procedure” for developing a plan to end the trust. Board members also voted to continue employing the Palatine Bridge-based Ayres Law Firm for legal services and the Gansvoort-based firm of Purinton and Morris for accounting services. Firm member Darryl Purinton updated the board on several accounting questions that remain as part of the dissolution process.

Meanwhile, attorney Ken Ayers updated trust board members on the status of a lawsuit filed by Benefits Marketing LLC, the management consulting firm involved with the trust. The suit alleges breach of contract in the amount of $1.4 million.

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in February 2012 directing that the trust be dissolved by December 2012. The Amsterdam Common Council passed a similar resolution in March 2012.

The county’s resolution named Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush, St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominick Stagliano and Amsterdam 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Chiara as members of the trust board of directors. The resolution also instructed the three to help guide the board through the dissolution process and negotiate new contracts with insurance providers.

Montgomery County is changing its form of government from a board of supervisors to a county legislature as of Jan. 1. All three supervisors named to the trust board are leaving office. The trust board will be reorganized when the new county government is in place.

The resolution adopted Monday by the trust board states that the trust already is dissolved “for the purpose of incurring health benefit obligations” but remains in existence “for the purpose of winding up its legal and financial affairs,” including distribution of money paid by any of the trust’s member organizations and payment of any benefits incurred between July 1, 2007, when the trust was formed, and Dec. 31, 2012, the original target date for dissolving the trust.

The resolution calls for the dissolution plan to be reviewed by the county legislature, the Amsterdam Common Council and the trust board, then displayed “in a public place” no less than five days after its adoption. Notices describing the plan and telling where it will be displayed for public view must be published in newspapers for four successive weeks, according to the resolution. The plan also will be posted on a website maintained by the trust board.

A public hearing will be held within 35 to 90 days of the beginning of dissolution proceedings, according to the resolution. The plan can be amended following the public hearing, as long as it remains within the legal requirements of dissolution. The amended plan must be posted within five days, according to the resolution.

The plan then must be ratified by the Montgomery County Legislature, the Amsterdam Common Council and the members of the trust board, according to the resolution.

 

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About John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.

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