Janesville School District has options for compliance with Affordable Care Act

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Katherine Krueger
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

— The Janesville School Board is set to weigh strategies to comply with federal health care law at its meeting tonight, although no hard numbers on the financial impact were available last week.

A provision of the Affordable Care Act mandates employers provide health insurance to any employees working more than 30 hours per week. The district offers insurance to those working 35 hours, but it has 274 employees working between 30 and 30.75 hours per week who would qualify for health benefits under the law.

Last week, board committees grappled with how to juggle the cost of providing insurance without overburdening the district budget. Because officials still were waiting for exact figures about the potential cost, the district's finance and personnel committees were not able to take any action.

According to a memo included with the agenda for tonight's meeting, officials are investigating two options for staff hours.

One option is to reduce hours so certain employees no longer qualify for insurance under the new rules, which could lead to some new part-time hires splitting roles.

“We are still examining the viability of this method but believe it provides enough flexibility to accomplish the objective of minimizing any additional costs in health insurance benefits,” the memo reads.

The other option is for the district to leave hours unchanged but decline to pay for coverage and face paying federal penalties.

Mary Ann Kahl, assistant director of administrative and human services for the district, said because the budget office is still compiling data, there could be new financial projections available by tonight.

Because a plan for providing health coverage for staff working during the summer goes into effect Monday, committee members said the issue could force a special board meeting ahead of that deadline.

The agenda also includes time for the board to go into closed session to “deliberate or negotiate” tuition for international students.

District Superintendent Karen Schulte returned from China over the weekend and will present a report on the trip during the meeting. The district hopes to draw Chinese students to attend Janesville schools.

Stephen Sperry, director of administrative and human services for the district, said he believes tonight will be the first time the board has discussed setting international tuition. Although he does not expect a vote in closed session, he said he “couldn't say for sure.”

Last updated: 7:59 am Monday, July 29, 2013

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