The Ross Township Board of Commisioners will vote tonight on an ordinance that would establish a minimum 10 percent contribution toward the township commissioners' health insurance costs, according to the agenda posted on the township's website.
The ordinance, if enacted, would take effect Jan. 1, 2014, for commissioners in Wards 2, 4, 6 and 8; and Jan. 1, 2016, for commissioners in Wards 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9.
In the meantime, Commissioner Chris Eyster, , asked the township manager to send out a form that, if each of the commissioners sign, would immediately institute the 10 percent contribution.
He said the commissioners agreed to contribute 10 percent toward their health care costs as a compromise reached in executive session.
In 2011, the cost of providing health insurance coverage to the commission's nine members was budgeted at $136,000—or about 7.5 percent of the township's $1.8 million budget for health care costs, said township manager Wayne Jones.
Two commissioners—Lana Mazur and Gerald O'Brien—already contribute 5 percent toward the premium, which is deducted from the commissioners' annual salary of $5,000. A fourth commissioner, Pete Ferraro, is primarily insured through his own retirement benefits but uses the township insurance to cover the gap in costs not covered by his primary provider, Jones said.
Eyster said he has signed the form, agreeing to contribute 10 percent.
The commission's newest member, John Sponcer, does not participate in the plan. The issue
In comparison, the township's public works employees contribute 5 percent toward their health care costs.
Union employees of the contribute 6.7 percent toward health insurance premiums, and new hires within the township's administrative staff contribute as much as 10 percent, Jones said.
The township is insured through Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. In addition to health insurance, the township provides full dental and vision coverage to the elected officials and employees.
State law permits township commissioners to be included in the local government's group life, health and hospitalization policies for employees. Changes in such benefits can take effect only for commissioners elected or appointed after the effective date of any ordinance, according to the Township Commissioner's Handbook, published by the Pennsylvania Department of Economic and Community development.
What do you think about the compromise worked out? Is it enough? Is it too much? Tell us in the comments.