Health insurance trust to dissolve

FONDA – The Montgomery County Health Insurance Trust is in the final stages of its dissolution.

“We’re at the point where we’re moving forward,” trust president and District 2 legislator-elect Thomas Quackenbush said. “We were hoping to have this dissolved by Dec. 31, and for all intents and purposes, we are no longer doing business as a trust in the sense that we have no contracts remaining, and we’re not doing any business, so we’re almost there.”

The trust, which was a health care- buying consortium created by the Board of Supervisors in 2007, held a meeting Monday to discuss financial and legal issues that still stand in the way of its closure.

The Board of Supervisors voted to dissolve the trust in February 2012 because it was unable to make the trust fall under Article 47 of state insurance law, which requires a minimum number of employees to participate in the trust, and the county did not meet the minimum.

The board was also unable to make the trust fall under Article 44, which does not require a minimum, because a resolution to do so did not pass.

“The county and city are self-insured, and the trust was never established, so the trust isn’t really helping,”said St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominick Stagliano, who serves as the trust’s chief financial officer.

Darryl L. Purinton of Galway-based Purinton & Morris CPAs, who serves as the county’s “accounting expert” for the termination of the trust, said the trust has about $2.2 million from overfunding and underfunding. He said most of the money is from overfunding in the trust from municipalities involved.

Stagliano said the trust is trying to successfully transfer the money to the proper municipalities, but the records require auditing.

“There’s a couple million dollars sitting there in overfunding and underfunding, and who does it belong to?” Stagliano said. “Does it belong to the city? Does it belong to the town of Amsterdam? Does it belong to Montgomery County? And so in order for us to share that information, we’ve had to put records in a state where they can be audited so there would be no dispute at the end of the day as to who this money belongs to.”

To determine who the money belongs to now, Benetech, a North Greenbush firm that specializes in employee benefits management and consulting, has been looking at records since the trust’s inception.

Purinton said he met with Benetech and they’re finalizing the accounting records and starting the sorting of cash.

The trust is also looking at some legal issues to resolve before dissolution. The trust, its board members, the town and city of Amsterdam were all sued in April by Benefits Marketing of Amsterdam.

The trust entered into a three-year contract with Benefits Marketing on Jan. 1, 2012, and also referenced a contract with Matrix Quality Care.

The company is seeking at least $1 million in damages after the health care trust allegedly breached its contract with Benefits Marketing.

Kenneth L. Ayers of the Ayers Law Firm in Palatine Bridge, who’s representing the trust, said he’s waiting for Benefits Marketing to file any more papers for their suit. He said by mid-February, the trust will know where it stands with litigation.

The trust plans to meet again Jan. 16.