Morgan County School District Faces Health Care Coverage Dilemma

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - The Morgan County School District has found itself in a Catch-22.

The district's current health care provider will not allow them to cover certain employees. But under the Affordable Care Act, if those employees are full-time, the district must insure them or face the penalty.

"We’re trying to abide by the law, but at the same time trying to reduce the financial impact that it could have upon us through the way of fines and penalties," said John Godwin, Chief Financial Officer for the district.

Currently 97% of Morgan County school employees are covered by the district provided health insurance.

"However, our PHIP coverage will not insure contract workers, temporary employees, or, our biggest pull, substitutes," said Godwin.

Those restrictions put in place by their health care provider, could potentially cause the district tens-of-thousands of dollars in penalties under the Affordable Care Act, by driving uninsured employees to the federal health care exchange.

"If any non-covered employee goes out on the exchange and applies for a tax credit, we could be fined $3,000 per employee."

At most the district could look at paying around $90,000 dollars.

But they hope to avoid the penalties all together. So they've reached out to their contract and temporary employees.

"We’re working with those groups of employees to try to limit their hours as much as possible to where they do not exceed over 30 hours per week," said Godwin.

By keeping them part-time, the district can avoid the fines.

"We have had some calls with concerns, of course for the most part it’s out of our hands."

Godwin says the district will make exceptions for some long-term substitute teachers.

Also, if a temporary employee works over 30 hours in one week, it won't be cause for a fine, as long as their total hours averages out to 30 hours each week for the year.


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