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Patch Poll: Is Health Insurance Compromise Among Ross Officials' Enough or Too Much?

Ross Commissioners will vote tonight on contributing 10 percent toward health insurance costs, according to the agenda. The ordinance, if enacted, would take effect in 2014, for commissioners in even wards and 2016, for those in odd wards.

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. 

Ann Harrold April 16, 2012 at 03:34 PM
This is only a part-time job. The majority of the commissioners are employed elsewhere. Some are attorneys, some in the private sector. They are already receiving a salary. I agree with Commissioner Eyster, i.e., the manager should have all the commissioners sign a form that would immediately institute the 10 percent contribution. WIth the economic condition being what it is we all have enough to pay our own health insurance. Do you know it is costing as much as $20,000+ per year for just one commissioner. Several are at that rate. Kudos to John Sponcer for not taking Ross tax-payers money for his health insurance.
pearlenesilva April 17, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Yeap. In fact, did you know that Currently, many insurance companies do not allow adult children to remain on their parents' plan once they reach 19. Companies cannot do that any more. Search onilne for "Penny Health" and you can insure your kids if you are in the same boat.

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