Manchester school board to think about dropping medical health insurance for members [The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester] – InsuranceNewsNet


May 23—The Manchester school board will consider eliminating medical health insurance for board members starting in 2024 when it meets tonight at City Hall.

The total board may even consider asking the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to extend the stipend for Board of School Committee members from $2,000 to $4,000 per 12 months.

The brand new recommendations come after a request that the Manchester School District return to an 80-20 split on the associated fee of medical health insurance for varsity board members — with the district picking up 80% of costs for elected officials — was sent back to committee for more discussion.

Members of the Policy Committee — Leslie Want, Nicole Leapley, Peter Perich, Sean Parr and Jason Bonilla — voted unanimously in April to rescind a motion made in 2019 to approve a 5% annual increase in the associated fee of medical health insurance for varsity members starting in 2019.

Policy Committee members voted to recommend going back to the previous arrangement, where board members paid 20% of the associated fee. In January 2022, the split was 60% for board members and 40% for the district.

Ward 11’s Leapley raised the problem to board members, detailing how before she was elected she had coverage through the Inexpensive Care Act Marketplace (ACA).

“Once I got here on I used to be floored that I used to be offered insurance as an worker,” said Leapley. Once elected, she was not eligible for that plan because she receives health care coverage through the Manchester School District as an elected official with worker status.

“Because we’re offered insurance as an worker, it disqualified me for the ACA, which I used to be qualified for because I used to be not offered inexpensive insurance from an employer,” said Leapley.

Manchester School District Legal Counsel Kathryn Cox-Pelletier said under town’s Charter, employees of the varsity district are ineligible to serve on the Board of School Committee, however the Internal Revenue Service views school board members as school employees, not less than for tax purposes.

She identified the National Labor Relations Board doesn’t classify school board members as employees on the subject of collective bargaining rights.

Based on Leapley, on the time she took office — January 2020 — the district medical health insurance cost $751.17 monthly. She said she currently pays $969.79 ($908.97 for medical and $60.82 for dental) — a 20% increase in the associated fee of medical insurance over 18 months.

Committee members backed recommending eliminating medical health insurance for varsity board members.

“So if we’re not offering people insurance anymore then, it removes the thing that disqualifies me from the ACA,” said Leapley. “So for me, I do know I can have that again, and I do know that may go for other people, too.”

Leapley said she’s frustrated by the situation because she had to offer up her “low-cost medical health insurance” and that it’s costing town money.

“I felt like why are we each paying more?” said Leapley. “That is super irritating to me and it seemed really silly.”

Cox-Pelletier said any vote by the board to right away change advantages for current members would constitute a conflict of interest under town’s charter. She really helpful advantages stay as is until a recent board is seated in 2024.

School District Chief Financial Officer Karen DeFrancis said three school board members currently receive medical health insurance through the district and 4 receive dental advantages.

School board vice-chair Jim O’Connell said he felt that as a substitute of receiving medical health insurance advantages, future school board members should as a substitute get a $4,000-a-year stipend, the identical amount currently paid out to members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

School board member Leslie Want agrees.

“There must be some type of way of constructing the 2 boards equally recognized by the taxpayers,” said Want.


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