Mechanicsburg schools to offer substitutes a health care option

MECHANICSBURG – Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools will begin offering substitute employees a health care option.

The school board approved offering the Stark County Schools Council of Government bronze Medical Insurance Plan to substitute employees in the district at its Monday meeting.

Substitute employees can elect to purchase the plan or decline it. The entire cost will be paid by the employee, Treasurer Scott Maruniak said. The district offered the plan to comply with the Affordable Care Act. Employees can also purchase a plan through the health care exchanges.

Substitutes did not have a health care option through the district prior to this decision. The district had restricted substitute hours to under 30 hours a week to keep from paying fines from the health care act. Under the ACA, employers must offer full-time employees health insurance coverage. Full-time is considered 30 hours a week.

Now that the district has this plan option, substitute employees must sign a form either accepting or declining the coverage each year. This opens them up to work more than 30 hours a week at the district.

“We could have continued to keep substitute employees under 30 hours a week, but that hurts our substitute pool,” Maruniak said. “We have individuals who say they don’t want health insurance, but we didn’t have the means before to accept that. Now with this plan (and the option to opt in or out) … it opens up more hours for them to work if they choose to.”

Maruniak said the cost for a single individual on this plan is $434.91 a month, or $1,056.50 for a family. He said he believed it was cheaper than insurance purchased through the health care exchanges.

The plan does not apply to supplemental contract employees such as coaches. Those positions are paid on a stipend, not hourly.

Non-substitute full-time employees will not see a health care change.

In other action, the board:

•Appointed Elizabeth Smith to the Mechanicsburg Public Library Board for a seven-year term beginning Jan. 1.

•Approved the purchase of a John Deere Gator Utility Vehicle and accessories using the Ohio DAS Cooperative Purchasing Program Contract. Costs for the vehicle and accessories are not to exceed $13,000.

•Approved Deb Nelson’s absence.

•Approved hiring Middle School Student Council co-advisor Melissa Hoellrich, Winter Weight Room Supervisor Kurt Forrest, High School Baseball Head Coach Bryan Eyink, High School Track Head Coach Jennifer Dietrich, High School Track Assistant Coach Stephen Magyar, Middle School Track Head Coach Maggie Harris, and Middle School Track Assistant Coach Matt Frost, for the 2015-16 school year.

•Accepted the resignation of Travis McMahill.

•Approved hiring High School Softball Head Coach Abbey DeLong.

Mechanicsburg employees free to accept or decline it

By Casey S. Elliott

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.