March 8, 2011 |

URA to merge health care plan in with the city's

Pittsburgh City Council has preliminarily approved Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's resolution to merge the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) health care plan with the city's.

Under the agreement, the URA will participate in the city's health care program, administered by Highmark, and save nearly $200,000 annually.

"This is a great deal for taxpayers, for city and URA employees, and is an example of our efforts to drive down the cost of government," Mayor Ravenstahl said.

In 2007, the city went through a competitive process to merge its health care providers from three providers to one, saving the city $17 million over three years. Since then, the city has worked with Highmark to focus employee health care benefits on preventative care through employee wellness programs.

The mayor's CityFit Wellness Initiative, for example, encourages employees to join sports leagues, take part in one-on-one and group wellness counseling, and offers low-cost gym memberships to area YMCAs.

"The city's health care program has brought great benefits for city employees, and soon, URA employees will also be able to benefit from our innovative health and wellness programs," Mayor Ravenstahl said. "In addition, with the cost savings achieved through this consolidation, the URA will have additional funds to continue the revitalization of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods and business districts." 

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