The city of Blue Earth may be looking at an additional $46,000 cost to provide healthcare to city employees.
The City Administrator, Kathy Bailey, encouraged discussion from the council on how the healthcare reform may affect city employees at the meeting held on March 4.
They found that a few staff, considered part time, may be working extra hours which then requires those individuals be factored into the number of employees to be offered benefits.
"If they work more than 30 hours a week they are considered full time,"?Bailey says.
To determine the amount of full-time employees who would be offered the healthcare benefits, the city would designate a look-back period to review the number of hours part-timers worked.
Bailey looked at the last six months of 2012 and found that five part-time staff would be eligible for these benefits, as well. The city would then be required to provide insurance for them.
She presented the council with two methods to prevent part-time employees from going over 30 hours a week.
"Scheduling is something supervisors will need to watch,"?Bailey says.
She found looking back on the last six months of last year, that those days when the employees went over 30 hours, other part-timers would have been available. The cost could be avoided by more efficient scheduling.
She also suggested the council use more careful planning when designating the look-back period for next year.
According to Bailey, the look-back period must be at least three months long and require 60 additional days for calculation and notice before the end of the year.
The League of Minnesota Cities and the city's healthcare provider suggests adding an additional 30 days for the renewal process. That means the look-back period would need to end in September.
"I suggest we use a three-month look-back period,"?she says. "We would need to be mindful of the hours employees work during that time."
After the facilitating discussion, Bailey did not seek action at this meeting. A resolution setting the three-month period will be drafted and presented at the next council meeting to be held March 18.