When the Affordable Care Act goes into effect Jan. 1, individuals and employers -- including government bodies with employees in a health care plan -- will see some changes.

Locally, those changes are expected to be minor.

Vinton-Shellsburg Superintendent Mary Jo Hainstock describes the law's impact on the school district:

"We already provide a stipend/coverage for everyone who works 30 hours or more," she said. "This year, we are monitoring all of our part-time employees to verify we are providing the stipend/coverage to everyone who is part-time. For example, school bus drivers are not scheduled to work more than 30 hours but if they do activity trips, they may average that some weeks but still not all year."

Also, says the superintendent, everyone who has insurance through the district will have to start paying the special ACA fees.

"For example, if an employee and her spouse are covered through our program, they will have to pay $14.25/person or a total of $28.50/month; that includes a $9/person/month Affordable Care Act fee and a $5.25/person/month for the transitional reinsurance fee. We have been told these fees will disappear at some point in the future."

Vinton employees to pay fees

The Vinton City Council discussed those monthly fees during their last two meetings before deciding to pass those costs to the city employees. There are 88 people who are covered; that means a total of approximately $15,000 per year in ACA fees from those covered by city employee health plans.

Impacton Benton County and its employees

Benton County Auditor Jill Marlow explains that because the county plan is self-funded and because of the county's participation in a health insurance pool,

"The PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institution Trust Fund) fee is $2 per covered life per year and the traditional reinsurance fee is $5.25 per covered life per month and both are being paid by our health insurance pool - the Iowa State Association of Counties ( ISAC). ISAC will continue to pay these fees until June 2015," explains Marlow. "The ISAC plan is a self-funded plan and is therefore not subject to the Annual Health Insurer Fee (which I believe is $9 per covered life per month) – but again we are not subject to that fee."

Marlow also explained how the health insurance mandate for employees may impact the county in 2014.

"We will be affected by the requirement to provide health insurance to part-time employees. The impact is yet to be determined as we are currently tracking the number of hours that part-time and seasonal employees are working as well as establishing the look back period. Preliminary data does not reflect that very many part-time employees will be covered," she said.

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