Source: Sherman Publications

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Addison officials opt-out of state health care law

by Andrew Moser

November 30, 2011

Addison Twp. officials have decided not to follow the state's public employee health care co-payment act.

During the Addison Twp. Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Nov. 17, the township board passed a resolution by a 7-0 vote to "opt out" of the Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act, PA 152 of 2011.

The law stated the governing board needed a two-thirds vote in order to exclude their government from the provisions of the act. However, the vote must take place on a annual event in order to remain in effect.

"There is some history behind this," Addison Twp. Supervisor Bruce Pearson explained. "Because townships and government agencies have done a pretty good job at managing their health care costs, the state has given us the opportunity to opt out."

He noted school employees do not have the option to opt out.

According to Pearson, it was the townships progressive action towards lowering their health care costs which allowed them the opportunity to opt out.

"The state is now realizing they are a little bit behind the ball game, and we have been way ahead of the ball game" Pearson said during the meeting. "We already had our employees contributing more than any other area townships...we held our raises for our employees."

Pearson told those in attendance current employees of Addison Twp. contribute 12.5 percent towards their own health care and this past year bid out their health insurance coverage.

"You will notice in 2011 we changed the healthcare coverage, and we saved $12,726 for one year," Pearson said. "If we hadn't added another employee, we would have saved $17,694."

The township had three options to choose from under the act. The first option was to restrict public employers from paying an aggregate of no more than $15,000 for family coverage, $11,000 for husband and wife and $5,500 for individual coverage.

Employees would be responsible to pay for any overage if the employer cost exceeds the limits, which is calculated by total covered employees.

The first option also did not include dental and vision coverage.

Second, the township could have opted for a 20 percent co-payment instead of a hard cap.

Under the 20 percent option, the employer may not pay for more than 80 percent of the total cost of health insurance.

Finally, townships, cities, counties and villages were given the option to opt out of the employer caps on health care costs.

According to Twp. Treasurer Dan Alberty, there would not be no potential for loss of revenue sharing if the township opted out.

"As far as for us, it would not be a penalty. What this is really aimed for is schools and things like that," Alberty said.