Minnesota Cities Magazine

Sidebar: Top Five Questions for Elected Officials

By Laura Kushner

Note: This is a sidebar to the feature article, Navigating Health Care Reform.

1. Has your city calculated whether it is a large or small employer as defined by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)?[
Do this now! You have to include paid on-call firefighters, seasonal employees, and probably elected officials’ time in the calculation.

2. If your city is a small employer, have you considered looking at the state’s MNsure health exchange for your city’s coverage in 2014?
Enrollment opens in October. Visit www.mn.gov/hix for more information.

3. If your city is a large employer, have you considered whether you will offer health insurance coverage to employees who meet the 30-hour-per-week criteria, or will you pay the penalties associated with not providing coverage to those employees?
There are ways to avoid these penalties, but each requires some analysis and a solid understanding of the “safe harbor” rules.

4. Has your city looked at whether you might be subject to Cadillac plan taxes?
Even though this tax is not applicable until 2018, cities that might be subject to it should start negotiating with unions now to avoid the tax and allow the city to make other needed changes associated with PPACA.

5. Have you budgeted for increases in health insurance costs in 2014 due to additional taxes?
Some experts are suggesting that cities budget for at least 15-20 percent in premium increases to take increased taxes and fees into account.

Laura Kushner is human resources director with the League of Minnesota Cities.
Contact: lkushner@lmc.org or (651) 281-1203.

Read the July-August 2013 issue of Minnesota Cities magazine

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