Friday, June 28, 2013

The Affordable Health Care Act (ACA)



The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is part of the law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama on March 23, 2010.  It represents the most significant overhaul of US Healthcare since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, and as such, is receiving a lot of attention in the news and by local school districts and other organizations. It has significant negative budget implications for the School District of Janesville, and as a result, will have economic impact on many individual employees.
                    
Here is how it will impact the School District of Janesville.  All large employers, including the School District of Janesville, will be required to offer minimum affordable health insurance coverage to all “full-time” employees, or face monetary penalties.  Under the ACA, a “full-time” employee is “an employee who is employed an average of at least 30 hours of services per week with an employer.”  The coverage must be offered to all “full-time” employees and their dependents (but not spouses of employees).

Under the School District of Janesville’s collective bargaining agreements, the School District of Janesville offered health insurance coverage to full-time employees who were defined by the agreements as employees who work seven hours per day.  The new ACA definition of full-time employee introduces the potential requirement to offer health insurance coverage to around 280 traditionally part-time employees who did not receive health insurance coverage from the School District of Janesville under the labor contracts.  The cost of potentially having to offer health insurance to these employees is estimated around $3,000,000.  The effective date of this new coverage would be September 1, 2014.  Because of this new and additional high cost resulting from the ACA’s more expansive definition of full-time employee, the School District of Janesville is looking at options.

The first option is to reduce the hours of the staff in a way that provides the required levels of service to students but insures that certain employees are not scheduled for an amount of hours of service that would qualify them for “full-time” status under the ACA. There are specific rules that come into play that apply only to employees of an educational organization, affecting how hours of service are counted or credited during summer break. 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.

Another option is to leave the hours of work unchanged, decline to pay for the coverage, and elect to pay certain penalties under the “pay or play” provisions of the ACA. We believe the penalty cost to be prohibitive, along with the fact that the School District of Janesville would not choose to break the law. 

A third option would be outsourcing some of the School District of Janesville positions: a solution that other school districts are examining.

The fourth option, to enable the District to better meet our needs, would have the School District of Janesville keeping a limited number of positions as newly-qualified "full time" positions.  These positions would be offered insurance coverage.

We will need to make changes by September 1, 2013.  This will be discussed at the July 9, 2013 Board meeting.

There is a memo posted on the School District of Janesville’s website under the June 25, 2013 Board packet that covers this information in greater detail.

12 comments:

  1. Facing penalties, cutting hours, firing people and cutting back positions? Wow, you are brilliant! I can sleep peacefully at night knowing that the Superintendent of the Janesville School District certainly cares for her employees. Yet another reason why Janesville has gone to hell.

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  2. I am saddened that I am not appreciated at my job. I go above and beyond at my job for the teachers and children. This just makes me feel worthless. The law was to help people and it seems like you want to make the decision to use it to hurt us.

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    1. i am also hurt, I couldnt even get my work done in the 6 hours, there is alot of work done by employees already off the clock/at home, you mean to tell me you cant get with other districts and get a cheaper rate on insurance? and fulltime employees already have insurance whats 2oo more? and alot are not going to need it if they are covered under spouses insurance? sounds like they need to shop around more, instead of cutting the low people on totem pole!

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    2. Frustrated that an option isn't available for people that do not need insurance. Some of us NEED minimum 30 hours, but do not want the insurance. Having a hard & fast policy hurts those people. As for outsourcing, it's been shown what a bad idea that has been at other school districts.I realize it is your job to spend the 'tax payers' money wisely, but remember, those that work in the district ARE tax payers too! You are hurting Rock county families by even considering some of these options.I would guess some people would work 29.5 hours & skip insurance, rather than really get the screws put to them.....

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  3. Anonymous,

    Thank you for posting your concerns. The School District of Janesville is considering all options available, as this is a very complex issue. The ultimate goal is to do what is best for the district, employees, students and community. Please consider attending the next Community Listening Session, scheduled for July 9, 2013 at the Educational Services Center. The session will begin at 5:00 p.m. The Listening Session is an open forum for the community and employees to ask questions and voice concerns. School Board Commissioners and certain members of the Administration attend.

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  4. How about cutting back on some of the other programs for children who cannot speak English! We worry so much about other children of other nationalities in other countries but forget about our own! You come to America learn OUR language for your schooling, I'm sure by cutting back on these programs you will then be able to afford to pay the teachers their health insurance!!!

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  5. I don't want or need the district insurance why can't I keep my hours and you keep your insurance. I can't afford to lose those hours.

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  6. Thank you to all who voted for this horrendous mess! People like me tried to warn you that this would happen and yet no one would listen. So now, I not only will STILL not have health care, but you get to slash my income by cutting my hours! Thanks A LOT! Next time you listen to the rhetoric playing on your altruistic emotions, stop and think of the consequences! I wish I could sell my citizenship to the highest bidder and live as an illegal alien and be provided free services and have everyone jumping through hoops to please me!

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    1. Another little tidbit you need to know: the school district can choose to not provide me with insurance and pay a fine or cut my hours to save themselves money. Either way, thanks to ACA, I am required to have health insurance. So if my employer cuts my hours, I will be forced by our government to spend my smaller paychecks on health insurance! What will people do if they have pre-exsisting conditions? Yes, they can't be denied, but there is no limit on how much insurance companies can charge or what they will cover!

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  7. So this might be a stupid question but what services are free to illegal aliens? As far as I know illegal aliens don't get free services for healthcare. They still have to pay for it and are not allowed to get insurance via forward health. I get it, you are anger but don't take your anger out on another demographic category. It is a shame that the district has not in the past offered to supply health insurance to "full time" staff that would elect to get it. As far as I'm concerned your money shows what priorities you have. So to have to pay some of the cost to get health insurance seems like the best option because it require the employee to be directly financially responsible for their health and healthcare.

    What I see as being a concern is that limiting the number of employees is will create lots of drama and more of a click within each school between which staff are "in" and "out". Both option three and four will create more of a divide in services to students between teachers and aides.

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    1. What rock have you been hiding under? Why do you think health care is so expensive? They can walk into any emergency room and cannot be turned away. With no insurance and no citizenship, who do you think pays the bill? When I am ill, I see the doctor and pay $100 a month and pay my bill off. With ACA, I will have to pay hundreds more out of my pocket even if I don't see a doctor that month. Besides, even with insurance coverage, it does not pay out 100%. So guess where that money is coming from? My pocket, because when I go to the doctor, I am responsible to pay my own bills and not run away from them because I am not supposed to be in this country to begin with.

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    2. What rock have you been under? Why do you think health care is so expensive? Illegals can walk into any emergency room for any reason and cannot be turned away. With no legal address and no legal citizenship, they have no need to pay their bill. I go to the doctor with no insurance and pay $100 a month until my bill is paid off. Most months I have no doctor bill, but when I do, I pay my debts off, not run to another country to hide from it. Insurance does not cover 100%, so guess who pays for what insurance doesn't? Me, out of my smaller paychecks now! You talk about having priorities on spending money, but now I have no priorities, just mandates from the government on how my money is spent.

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