January 2014



  News from the Suffolk County Village Officials Association



Executive Board



Mayor Ralph A. Scordino
Village of Babylon

1st Vice President

Mayor Allan M. Dorman
Village of Islandia

2nd Vice President

Mayor Richard B. Smith
Village of Nissequogue


  Mayor Thomas A. Brennan 
Village of Lindenhurst 

Past President

Mayor Paul V. Pontieri, Jr.
Village of Patchogue


Past President
Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach, Jr.
Village of East Hampton


President Emeritus 
Hon. Peter T. Imbert
Former Mayor,
Village of Amityville

Executive Director

Hon. Paul J. Tonna
Former Suffolk County Presiding Officer 



Hon. Peter A. Bee, Esq.
Former Mayor,
Village of Garden City

Project Manager
Deborah Young 




Suffolk County Village Officials Association
69 Chichester Road
Huntington, NY 11743





 To All Village Officials:


Most Long Island villages have long provided health insurance to their employees through NYSHIP, and due to rising premium costs, have offered health insurance buy-back programs to induce employees to forego coverage and thereby eliminate the employer's attendant obligation to pay premiums. This is typically conditioned upon the employee being able to show that he/she was obtaining coverage elsewhere. However, starting in about 2011, NYSHIP began tightening the rules for employees who sought to use such buy-back programs, eventually insisting that such programs must require that the employee have "other" health coverage, and that "other" coverage could not be NYSHIP, e.g., an employee could no longer buy-back on the strength of being covered through a spouse having NYSHIP coverage from another public employer.


The tightening of the rules by NYSHIP significantly undercut the number of cases in which villages could utilize their buy-back programs, and therefore significantly impacted village costs for health insurance premiums.


On January 10, 2014, however, the Albany County Supreme Court issued a decision which (if not successfully appealed) may have broad consequences for villages with NYSHIP health insurance buy-back programs.  Specifically, the Court held that NYSHIP had exceeded its authority in tightening its rules, and that its policy pronouncements requiring that "other coverage" be "other than NYSHIP" was null & void, effectively reinstating the earlier opportunities for savings by villages offering such programs.  See Roslyn Teachers Association, et al., v. New York State Health Insurance Plan et al., Albany County Index No. 3409-13, January 10, 2014.


The decision may yet be appealed, and (who knows?) may be reversed or modified, but it's a decision that your village (through its counsel) should carefully monitor!


Hon. Peter A. Bee, Esq.
SCVOA Counsel