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Now healthcare costs are a board concern : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Now healthcare costs are a board concern

As we've reported before here, Kendall County Board members are all eligible for the same health insurance benefits that the county's full-time employees receive.

The health insurance perk-which annually costs county taxpayers thousands of dollars-is offered to the 10 board members even though their duties with the county are considered part-time. In fact, several of the board members work full-time jobs, in addition to their board duties.

According to information provided to us by Jill Ferko, county treasurer, taxpayers paid $50,269 for health and dental insurance for five county board members in 2013. Those five and the cost of their coverage is a follows: Jeff Wehrli, $14,913; Judy Gilmour, $10,287; Matt Prochaska, $8,873; Dan Koukol, $8,193; and Elizabeth Flowers, $8,003.

As we reported last week, the county board voted 8-1 to allow the county administrator's office to complete a six-month study of the number of hours the county's many part-time employees now work. The study is necessary to assure the county conforms with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under the ACA, employers are required to offer health insurance benefits to those workers who average over 30 hours on the job per week.

County Administrator Jeff Wilkins told board members that if the county's part-time employees average more than 30 hours of work per week during the study period, they would become eligible for health insurance benefits. Wilkins said county department heads have been alerted to the ACA requirements and will be monitoring their part-time employees to make sure they stay under the 30 hour per week threshold.

During a meeting last week, some board members expressed concern at the possibility of the county's part-time employees logging more than 30 hours of work per week and qualifying for health insurance benefits.

County board members are right to be concerned at the potential extra cost to the county of extending health insurance benefits to the county's part-time employees. But it's galling as part-time employees they didn't have a similar concern a month ago when they took a pass on a proposal to do away with their own health and dental insurance benefits. Perhaps the board might want to include themselves in the study to confirm that they are all working over 30 hours per week and therefore eligible for the health and dental coverage they can now receive.

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