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Committee agrees on school district insurance rebates

Jeff Schmucker Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 05:19 PM

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Teachers and other school district employees will get to decide how to best spend their health rebate money after a committee determined that employees would receive checks.

It was decided that the school district, meanwhile, would put its refund money in a reserve fund and use the money to offset future health care increases.

Following the insurance committee meeting Tuesday — consisting of two teacher and two school worker union members and one school district representative — it was determined that current and past employees would receive rebate checks based on the type of insurance plan they had throughout 2011, said Joe Vitalo, president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association.

Money is being rebated due to the new health care law, which requires health care companies and insurers to spend at least 85 percent of what they receive from large companies on medical care.

Whatever amount falls below that threshold, the companies have to rebate that back annually.

The rebate doesn't apply to those who are self-insured and many others who are exempt from the new law.

Lisa Becker, manager of risk management, previously stated that the school district's provider, Blue Cross, missed that mark by 3.3 percent.

Vitalo said decisions on rebates for current employees and to put the more than $400,000 school district rebate in a reserve fund was simple, and took up little of the roughly 45-minute meeting.

The difficulty, he said, was determining what to do for employees who left the district during or following that year.

"We have to track down those employees and we have some who we've sent W2s to and they've been sent back," Vitalo said. "So in some cases this is going to be a challenge. And if we're not able to find them, after three years that money goes to the state."

For employees who receive single health coverage for themselves, Vitalo said employees will receive a little more than $11. For a former employee, he said the amount is small enough that the district isn't required to rebate the amount to them due to the cost of finding them exceeding the rebate.

But for those employees past or present who purchased insurance for themselves, spouse and/or children, they will likely receive about $400.

Other options dealing with employee and spouse, or employee and children, would have the employee receiving a rebate of between $170 to $200 if they received health coverage for all of 2011. (352) 544-5271

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