taxesRed Bank officials earlier this week approved a plan to stick with a municipality-based health insurance plan for 2010 after other insurers said they could not compete on the rates.

The Central Jersey Health Insurance Fund plan will cost the borough $2.7 million next year, after accounting for an expected dividend of $209,000, according to borough CFO Frank Mason,

That’s a 2.9 percent increase over the $2.62 million premium paid this year, after an identical dividend.

This year’s dividend is the equivalent of a penny of the local property tax rate of 45.2 cents per $100 of assessed value, according to Councilman Mike DuPont, who leads the council’s budget-setting finance committee.

DuPont reported to the council at its bimonthy meeting Monday night that requests for bids resulted in insurers Cigna and Oxford/United Health Care declining to respond and Horizon telling the borough that it could not match the CJHIF rates. The New Jersey State Health Benefits plan came in with a quote of $2.91 million, or $205,000 more than the CJHIF post-dividend sum, he said.

The plan covers 123 full-time employees and 81 retirees, Mason said.

Among elected officials, only Councilman Art Murphy takes the coverage, paying 15 percent of the premium or five percent of his salary, whichever is less, under a formula in effect for all hired in 1994 or afterward, Mason said.

DuPont uses the plan’s dental coverage at his own expense, Mason said.

The CJHIF consists of 23 towns and authorities in Monmouth and Ocean counties which pool their buying power and share in savings when claims drop from year to year. Atlantic Highlands, Shrewsbury and Eatontown are among the other municipalities that participate, according to the fund’s website.