Thursday, April 16, 2015

Legality of Spousal Surcharge



I am aware that there are some concerns about the legality of a spousal surcharge and I want to take the time to address this issue with you.

Wisconsin and federal laws allow employers to charge different employee premium rates depending on the number of people covered through the employee’s plan participation.  Single rates for employee-only coverage are typically the lowest.  Premium amounts increase from there as more family members are covered. 

Most health plans, including the School District of Janesville group health plans, require employees to pay a higher premium when both the employee and the employee’s spouse or domestic partner are covered.  This higher premium cost is “related” to the employee’s marital or partnership status, but it is really intended to address the question of economics – it costs more to cover two or more family members than it does to cover only the employee. 

Many Wisconsin employers, including Wisconsin school districts, have added a surcharge to the employee’s group health plan premium when the employee’s spouse or partner declines his or her own employer-provided group health insurance to enroll in District coverage.  The surcharge acknowledges that the spouse or partner has employer-sponsored insurance, is declining that insurance and instead would like to participate in the District’s health plan.  This is a legal practice that is now widespread among employers in Wisconsin and across the country. 

I have also heard some concerns that confidential proprietary medical information, protected by HIPAA and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, may be at risk because the District is asking if a spouse has employer-sponsored coverage. 
HIPAA protects PHI (protected health information).  The spousal surcharge requires employees to provide information about whether their spouses have coverage with their own employers.  It does not ask for the spouse’s medical information.  


The FCRA, Fair Credit Reporting Act, also prohibits employers from requesting medical history for the purpose of conducting an employment background history check or to make other employment-related decisions.  Again, the spousal surcharge process does not request or consider the spouse’s medical history.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2014-15 Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam




Scores remain strong on the 2014-15 Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE)

            This November, all fourth, eighth, and tenth grade students participated in the Social Studies and Science WKCE.  The School District of Janesville improved in Science with the percent of students meeting proficiency increasing from 78% to 81%.  The School District of Janesville also improved in Social Studies with the percent of students meeting proficiency increasing from 85% to 86%.




In Science, grades 4 and 10 showed the largest improvements, each with a 5% increase in students who are proficient.   In Social Studies, grade 8 improved 2% from last year.












Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Explanation of Early Retirement Benefits

Current

Early Retirement Benefits

Professional, Support Staff, and Confidential Staff with 10 years of full time local service to the District and 20 years of WRS or similar professional service receive 48 months of health and drug coverage.  Additional months of coverage available through sick leave conversion (see below).  All dental coverage ends. 
Full time status for OPEB is 7 hours per day or more.  An employee can be categorized full time school year or full time calendar year.  Early Retirement age is between ages 55-64.
Professional, Support Staff, and Confidential Staff that retire at age 62 with 10 years of full time local service receive 36 months of health and drug coverage
Classified Staff with 10 years of full time local service to the District and 20 years of WRS or similar professional service receive 36 months of health and drug coverage.  Full time for OPEB is 7hours per day or more.  An employee can be categorized full time school year or full time calendar year.  Early Retirement age is between 62-64. 
The classified staff can retire earlier than age 62 with additional months of coverage through sick leave conversion. (see below).
Professional, Support, and Confidential Staff
Unused Sick Days
Additional Months of Coverage
30-39 days
12 months
40-97 days
24 months
98-129 days
36 months
130 or more days
48 months

Classified Staff Sick Leave Conversion
Unused Sick Days
Additional Months of Coverage
60 days
12 months
61-130 days
24 months

Early Retirees pay same contribution rate as active employees.
Board Action: Approved 3/10/15

Option 5

Early Retirement Benefits

Professional, Support Staff, and Confidential Staff with 10 years of full time local service to the District and 20 years of WRS or similar professional service receive fixed months of health and drug coverage.  All dental coverage ends.  Full time for OPEB is 7 hours per day or more.  An employee can be categorized full time school year or full time calendar year.
Classified Staff with 10 years of full time local service to the District and 20 years of WRS or similar professional service receive fixed months of health and drug coverage.  Full time for OPEB is 7hours per day or more. 
An employee can be categorized full time school year or full time calendar year. Additional months of coverage available through sick leave conversion.  Each day of accrued sick leave converted to a dollar amount of $147.  The total applied to additional months of coverage at the full premium rate at the time of early retirement.
Early Retirees pay same contribution rate as active employees.
Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2015- June 30, 2016
Professional, Support & Confidential Staff
· 48 months plus Additional months w/ sick leave  dollar conversion
Classified Staff
· 36 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave dollar conversion

Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2016– June 30, 2025
All Eligible Staff
· 36 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion

Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2025– June 30, 2035
All Eligible Staff
· 24 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion

Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2035 – June 30, 2045
All Eligible Staff
· 12 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion
Board Action: Rescinded Option 5 3/24/15
Approved Option 5-A 3/24/15

Option 5-A

Early Retirement Benefits


 Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2015- June 30, 2018
AND retires by June 30, 2018

· Same Benefit as Current


Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2015–June 30, 2018
BUT retires after June 30, 2018

Professional, Support & Confidential Staff
·         48 Months plus Additional months w/ sick leave dollar conversion

Classified Staff
·         36 Months plus Additional months w/ sick leave dollar conversion

Eligible to early retire:  July 1, 2018– June 30, 2025

All Eligible Staff
· 36 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave  $ conversion


Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2025-June 30, 2035

All Eligible Staff
· 24 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion


Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2035 – No end date but only covers current employees.

All Eligible Staff
· 12 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion

Option 5-B

Early Retirement Benefits

 Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2015- June 30, 2018

· Same Benefit as Current

Eligible to early retire:  July 1, 2018– June 30, 2025
All Eligible Staff
· 36 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave  $ conversion

Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2025– June 30, 2035
All Eligible Staff
· 24 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion
 Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2035 – No end date but only covers current employees.
All Eligible Staff
· 12 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion


Explanation of Early Retirement Benefits


Current
Early Retirement Benefits
Professional, Support Staff, and Confidential Staff with 10 years of full time local service to the District and 20 years of WRS or similar professional service receive 48 months of health and drug coverage. Additional months of coverage available through sick leave conversion (see below).  All dental coverage ends.

Full time status for OPEB is 7 hours per day or more. An employee can be categorized full time school year or full time calendar year. Early Retirement age is between ages 55-64.

Professional, Support Staff, and Confidential Staff that retire at age 62 with 10 years of full time local service receive 36 months of health and drug coverage

Classified Staff with 10 years of full time local service to the
District and 20 years of WRS or similar professional service receive
36 months of health and drug coverage. Full time for OPEB is
7hours per day or more.  An employee can be categorized full time school year or full time calendar year. Early Retirement age is between 62-64.

The classified staff can retire earlier than age 62 with additional months of coverage through sick leave conversion. (see below).

Professional, Support, and Confidential Staff
Unused Sick Days                Additional Months of Coverage
   30-39 days                                       12 months
   40-97 days                                       24 months
  98-129 days                                      36 months
 130 or more days                              48 months

  Classified Staff Sick Leave Conversion 
  Unused Sick Days                 Additional Months of Coverage
        60 days                                          12 months
    61-130 days                                       24 months             
  
Early Retirees pay same contribution rate as active employees.

Board Action: Approved 3/10/15

Option 5
Early Retirement Benefits
Professional, Support Staff, and Confidential Staff with 10 years of full time local service to the District and 20 years of WRS or similar professional service receive fixed months of health and drug
coverage. All dental coverage ends.  Full time for OPEB is 7 hours per
day or more. An employee can be categorized full time school year or full time calendar year.

Classified Staff with 10 years of full time local service to the District and 20 years of WRS or similar professional service receive fixed months of health and drug coverage.  Full time for OPEB is 7hours per day or more.

An employee can be categorized full time school year or full time calendar year. Additional months of coverage available through sick leave conversion. Each day of accrued sick leave converted to a dollar amount of $147.  The total applied to additional months of coverage at the full premium rate at the time of early retirement.

Early Retirees pay same contribution rate as active employees.

Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2015- June 30, 2016
Professional, Support & Confidential Staff
· 48 months plus Additional months w/ sick leave dollar conversion
Classified Staff
· 36 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave dollar conversion

Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2016 June 30, 2025
All Eligible Staff
· 36 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion

Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2025 June 30, 2035
All Eligible Staff
· 24 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion

Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2035 June 30, 2045
All Eligible Staff

· 12 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion

Board Action: Rescinded Option 5  3/24/15
Approved Option 5A  3/24/15

Option 5-A
Early Retirement Benefits
Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2015- June 30, 2018
AND retires by June 30, 2018

· Same Benefit as Current

Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2015June 30, 2018
BUT retires after June 30, 2018

Professional, Support & Confidential Staff
·      48 Months plus Additional months w/ sick leave dollar conversion

Classified Staff
·      36 Months plus Additional months w/ sick leave dollar conversion

Eligible to early retireJuly 1, 2018– June 30, 2025

All Eligible Staff
· 36 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave conversion


Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2025-June 30, 2035

All Eligible Staff
· 24 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave conversion


Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2035 No end date but only covers current employees.

All Eligible Staff
· 12 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave conversion

Option 5-B
Early Retirement Benefits
Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2015- June 30, 2018


· Same Benefit as Current



Eligible to early retireJuly 1, 2018 June 30, 2025

All Eligible Staff

· 36 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion



Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2025 June 30, 2035

All Eligible Staff

· 24 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion


Eligible to early retire: July 1, 2035 No end date but only covers current employees.

All Eligible Staff

· 12 Months plus Additional months w/sick leave $ conversion