MARQUETTE - The Marquette County Board voted unanimously Friday to opt-out of implementing a state healthcare cost split for the coming year.
The opt-out provision was one of three avenues the board could pursue and remain in compliance with The Health Insurance Contribution Act - Public Act 152 of 2011 - which limits how much a public employer may pay or contribute to a medical benefit plan for its employees. The act provides penalties for non-compliance.
A two-thirds vote of the panel was required to pass the opt-out initiative. The board will now revisit the issue next year. The remaining two alternatives allowed under the act were implementing an 80-20 healthcare cost split - with 20 percent paid by county workers and 80 percent paid by the county - or hard-capped dollar amounts paid for medical coverage detailed in the legislation.
Earlier this month, the board met in closed session and later, at a Committee of the Whole meeting, recommended approval of the 80-20 healthcare cost split. Last week, the panel postponed a vote on that suggestion. However, after a roughly 90-minute closed session Friday, a vote on the measure was cast Friday. The panel voted unanimously not to approve the recommendation.
Instead, the panel decided to offer a plan with a 6 percent healthcare contribution by county workers for the coming year, beginning Jan. 1.
"By going to this, this is actually costing the county another $360,000 or so more dollars," said Commissioner Michael Quayle. "So this is a pretty generous offer."
The provision will affect all county workers, subject to approval by the various bargaining units in their labor contracts with the county.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.