PORTAGE | Upcoming changes to employee health insurance coverage have Portage Township Schools officials wrangling with how to meet new requirements in the most cost-effective manner.
Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia told the School Board on Wednesday night that administrators are spending a lot of time reviewing the provisions of the Affordable Care Act to make sure the district complies with requirements effective Jan. 1. If they don't comply, he said, the district could face fines.
For example, presently the district has about 90 employees who work 30 hours or more per week who are not currently offered health insurance.
Under the ACA, those employees will have to be offered health care coverage, said Frataccia.
"It is going to be more costly to us," he said.
"Some of the workers at 30 hours are some of the lowest-paid folks," said Frataccia, adding one idea would be to cut those employees to 29 hours per week to avoid having to offer health insurance coverage.
"But if we go that route, we want to keep them whole," he said, adding it would be unfair to those employees to cut their take home pay by cutting their hours to avoid offering health insurance.
"One way or another we are going to make someone mad. We are trying our best to keep them whole," said Frataccia, adding while the ACA is a "great idea," it is also challenging to implement.
Frataccia said the district has hired a consultant to develop requests for proposals for employee health care insurance. The district presently uses the state health care plan.
He said the new RFP will have to include provisions of the new health care act and also will offer additional options for coverage in addition to the traditional family or single coverage. They are to create a single-plus-children option as well as a high-deductible option.
Frataccia said they hope to have the RFP ready to bid in June or July to implement the new health care insurance on Jan. 1.