TENNERTON - The Upshur County Board of Education has taken the first steps to ensure that it complies with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
At its most recent meeting, the board unanimously approved a resolution regarding number of work hours for full-time employment status under the ACA.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, the ACA requires large employers to offer health insurance coverage to employees who work an average of 30 hours per week and their dependents - excluding spouses.
Employers who do not comply will face a stiff penalty, County Financial Director George Carver told the board earlier this month.
"The one thing that's really going to affect us the most is what's called the free rider penalty," Carver said. "That penalty kicks in if we do not offer insurance to all of our full-time employees.
"Right now we only offer insurance to our full-time, regular employees, but we have substitutes (teachers) that average more than 30 hours a week over the course of a year, and we will be required to offer them insurance."
Carver noted that based on his study of the 2012-2013 academic year, the county would be required to offer health insurance to four additional employees "with another four or five that were close to the mark or on the borderline."
He told the board, "The resolution that you have on the agenda is to establish a time line for how we're going to comply with the free rider penalty because the way that works is you have to establish different periods for components of the acts,."
He said, "You have to have a measurement period and then you have to have an administrative period that's when we look at all the information and see who we have to offer insurance to then we have a stability period during which we have to offer insurance to those people that qualify for a year after that."
The resolution adopted by the board outlines the process the county will follow to determine whether a variable-hour employee qualifies for health insurance coverage.
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