Broome County Purchasing Alliance

Broome County Purchasing Alliance (BCPA)
is a multi-county cooperative purchasing initiative pioneered by Broome County to solicit proposals and award a carrier for Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) programs.  The program is designed for Medicare-aged retirees of governmental employers that have an obligation to provide such coverage throughout the State of New York.  A primary purpose of the Alliance is to expand on New York States’ County-Wide Shared Services Initiative (CWSSII) and implement a “best practices in purchasing” approach to providing sustainable retiree health coverage.  The goal is to create a program that allows each entity to equal or better coverage levels.

The Obligation:

Many governmental employers in Upstate NY have an obligation to provide retiree health insurance to employees who meet certain service requirements (typically 20 years of full-time service) as specified in their respective employment or collective bargaining agreements. As these retiree populations and costs continue to grow, many municipalities are seeking a program that will help them control these costs and allow them to continue to keep the promise to provide these valuable programs to their retirees in the future. Many counties, towns, villages, cities, and school districts that have smaller numbers of retirees (under 1000) have very little negotiation leverage with respect to their retiree health coverage/premiums and have the most to gain from the pooled purchasing component.

The Solution:

BCPA effectively pools the purchasing power with other municipalities to reduce costs, risks, and future rate instability for retiree health coverage by securing competitive coverage and rates for entities participating in the BCPA - Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug (MAPD) program. This alliance acts as the purchasing agent and pools the purchasing power through collaboration with other counties, towns, villages, cities, school districts, and other eligible governmental entities throughout New York State. This system for purchasing provides the platform to stabilize costs and bring higher quality, comprehensive benefits coverage. The benefits gained to smaller groups include a multiple-year rate guarantee, potential for lower premiums, more competitive options, and the RFP along with the carrier negotiations that will minimizes staff time in the future with this process being handled by the Alliance. The requirements to participate in this Alliance are designed to comply with New York States’ CWSSII for eligibility in shared services matching grants, if available.

Through a formal RFP in 2021, Broome County selected MAPD coverage options through United HealthCare (UHC). The Alliance achieved an average annual savings of 26% that includes multi-year rate guarantees and better-quality coverage and services for our retirees, now and in the future. 

Broome County will collect necessary data through the SPANY/BCPA secure portal and submit it to UHC on behalf of the Alliance.

BCPA Eligibility and Participation Requirements

Eligibility extends to New York State governmental entities, including without limitation, counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts and community colleges that currently have an obligation to provide and contribute a minimum of 70% of the retiree health premium.

In addition, the entity must have a minimum of 25 Medicare retirees on their plan.

  1. Each entity must pass a resolution by their governing board to participate in the BCPA program effective 1/01/2023. Sample resolution may be found on BCPA website.
  2. Each entity must register through SPANY/BCPA and set up an account to successfully submit their data through the portal by August 1, 2022. 
  3. Each entity must submit a copy of the passed resolution, census of covered Medicare retiree population - including date of birth, gender, and zip code along with a copy of the current Summary Plan Description for their current plan design through the BCPA portal within the 8/01/2022 deadline.

For more information on the process click here  

To view the United Healthcare Retiree Solutions NYSAC Presentation, click here.

To download a draft resolution click here. 

For frequently asked questions and answers click here. 

To enter your information into the data portal click here. 

If you have additional questions, you may contact Robin Laabs at 607-778-2382 or Robin.Laabs@BroomeCounty.US