The city and school district will stay with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield as its health insurance service provider, the mayor announced Thursday.

Mayor Ben Blake announced in a press release today that the city has completed its review of responses to a Request for Qualifications for city and school employee, plus retiree, health insurance administration services.

Over the course of several months, city officials collaborated with a committee made up of representatives of each of the city and Board of Education bargaining units, along with health care consultants, to consider health insurance proposals.

The city and the committee unanimously recommended renewing Milford's health care administration agreement with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield based on a $1.9 million dollar reduction from the original renewal cost, Blake said.

Two major factors contributing to the savings are the new prescription drug program and the new networking access fee structure.

“Anthem’s proposal is a significant improvement over its current agreement with the city, which does not currently have any contractual terms or guarantees for prescriptions,” states a press release Blake released Thursday. “Furthermore, Anthem is adding two service representatives to support the city’s account, increasing the wellness account and providing funds for independent audits.”

“The RFQ provided us the opportunity to leverage the competitive health care market,” Blake said. “We looked seriously at all viable proposals and had carriers bidding against one another, leaving Milford the ultimate winner. We were able to drive down our health care costs and save taxpayers almost $2 million dollars a year.”

Mary-Ellen Coloski, president of the Milford Education Association, said in the press release, “The RFQ process allowed for transparency and, in the end, the collaborative discussions benefited both the city of Milford and the members. The association is happy that based on the analysis of the data, the ultimate recommendation from the committee will be to remain with Anthem.”

Jeff Luciano, President of LOCAL 944, International Association of Firefighters AFL-CIO shared a similar sentiment, according to the mayor’s press release. He said, “I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the Request for Qualifications for Health Care administration. The committee and the city worked collaboratively to obtain tremendous savings and increased service guarantees. I don’t think that would have been possible without the time and effort of union representatives from the city and Board of Education and retirees."