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Mon, June 17

County leaders to discuss Affordable Care Act impacts

PRESCOTT, Arizona - The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors will talk Monday about how the Affordable Care Act will impact the county.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the county administration building at 1015 Fair St. in Prescott. The full agenda is online at Yavapai.us.

Beginning July 1, 2015, larger employers such as the county will have to provide health insurance for all employees who work at least 30 hours, because that's how the law defines a full-time employee, explained Wendy Ross, the county's human resources director.

The county currently defines full-time employees as those who work 36 hours or more, so more county employees will get county health insurance next year.

Eight of the county's 58 part-time employees now work 30-35 hours per week, Ross said, while 1,395 full-time employees work 36 hours or more.

Another 242 employees work variable hours and the county doesn't yet track their hours in a way to know if they will qualify for health insurance, but Ross estimates that fewer than one-fourth of them will qualify.

She'll talk to the supervisors Monday about how the county needs to start tracking these employees' hours. "It's a complicated topic," she said.

If the employees work an average of at least 30 hours a week between June 1 and May 30, they then will qualify as full-time employees and get county health insurance for at least a year no matter how their hours might change, as long as they remain county employees.

The county gets its health insurance through the Yavapai Combined Trust alongside the City of Prescott, Yavapai College and the town of Chino Valley, Ross said, adding that the county pays all the premiums for full-time employees and 25 percent of the premiums for their family members. The premium costs rose by only about 1.5 percent this year and didn't increase at all last year, she said.

Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder

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