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Affordable Care Act impacting county

Washington County Budget Committee members are recommending initial compliance measures to avoid a possible $500,000 insurance increase due to a federal act’s provisions for part-time employees.
The Affordable Care Act will require Washington County to provide health insurance to employees who work 30 hours or more per week. “We have a lot of potential exposure in this regard,” Mayor Dan Eldridge told committee members.
Eldridge said insurance benefits cost approximately $10,000 per year per employee, and the county has 50 part-time employees. Some personnel work on a seasonal basis, while others take on additional hours during times of the year that require a heavier workload.
“This could result in $500,000 of unexpected cost,” Eldridge said. “We need to be on record as saying we have a policy that no part-time employees will work more than 30 hours.”
That policy will have to be zero tolerance, according to County Attorney John Rambo. “The county does not have money to pay extra health insurance, and it will be up to the officials to monitor the hours,” he said.
The resolution recommends adding a provision in the letters of agreement for compensation between the mayor and county officials that part-time employees are prohibited from working more than 29 hours in any given work week.