By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
County Agent of Record and Health Care Liaison Robin Riley, of Brown & Brown Public Risk Insurance Agency, addressed the school board at their March 18 meeting to explain some of the changes arising from health care reform, and how those changes would affect the district and its employees.
In discussing what employers needed to know, Riley summed up the two main requirements of any benefits plan the district might offer as: 1) it must be deemed “valuable,” meaning that it must cover at least 60 percent of eligible costs and 2) it must be “affordable,” meaning that the premiums cannot exceed nine-point-five percent of the employee’s wages.
Penalties for employers who don’t offer health care plans at all would amount to $2000 per employee, excluding the first thirty employees. If the district did offer a health care plan, but said plan did not meet one or both of the aforementioned requirements, the penalties increased to $3000 per employee, excluding the first thirty employees. Attorney Tommy Reeves questioned Riley on that point, that offering an unacceptable plan would be more costly than offering no plan at all, something that didn’t seem to make sense at first glance; Riley confirmed that he had understood correctly.
Since the Madison school district employs about 400 people, the penalties for no plan at all would amount to around $750,000, and the penalties for a plan deemed unacceptable would mount up to about $1,110,000. Furthermore, the penalties would not be tax-deductible for the district.
In addition to covering the full-time employees, the district had to offer coverage to part-time employees who work 30 hours or more a week.
Financial Director Ray Griffin, pointed out the need to look especially at substitute teachers and other part-timers who might meet or exceed 30 hours a week, or, since the district pays monthly, 150 hours per month, but with computerized records acting as an electronic time-clock, it should not be difficult to keep track of hours. It would
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