The City of Pittsfield will’s public employees will now pay a larger percentage of the health insurance split as part of a new six-year agreement.

IBerkshires.com reports is reporting that city officials and the Public Employee Committee, consisting of representatives from numerous employee bargaining units, has settled an agreement that will lower the city's percentage of health care for its active employees and non-Medicare retirees by five-percent over the course of the contract.

The unions are getting in return, a new lower cost option. Retirees on Medex will retain their split and stability for the next six years. Finance Director Matthew Kerwood says that the city's cost was expected to go up by $2 million. That’s if the current agreement was carried into the next fiscal year. That agreement is set to expire and the new agreement cuts that expected increase by $1.5 million.

Pittsfield’s overall cost for health insurance coverage is $24.5 million with employees paying 15 percent of the annual premium and the city picking up the remainder. That will be ramped down to an 80/20 percent split over the course of the next six years. Retirees on Medex will retain the 85/15 split, which according to Public Employee Committee President, Brendan Sheran, was a key point of negotiation. He says that keeping the health insurance costs down was a priority, as the average retiree receives a pension in the $20,000 range.