Pinellas school employees face special enrollment period for health benefits
After 77 percent of Pinellas County Schools teachers rejected the ratification of an unpopular union agreement Thursday, district instructional staff will have from Wednesday through Saturday to participate in a special enrollment period for their health care plans.
District director of risk management and insurance Ted Pafundi explained in an email sent Friday that because the tentative agreement bound together an average of 4 percent salary increases, insurance plans for 2016 and contract language, the health care plans chosen during the normal annual enrollment period completed in October are no longer valid.
The special enrollment begins Wednesday at 12 a.m. and ends Saturday at 5 p.m. Instructional staff can enroll in any of the health care options that were available in 2015.
If a new tentative agreement is reached, ratified and board approved by Dec. 3, then instructional personnel can proceed with the health care plans they chose in October. If not, the 2015 health plan benefits and rates will continue through 2016 or until a new total compensation package is successfully bargained.
And if an employee does not participate in the special enrollment period, then their selected 2015 health plan will remain in effect for that employee, Pafundi wrote.
He also said that since the required health insurance premium for the 2015 plan design is more expensive than then 2016 plan design, the board must divert dollars that were allocated for those salary raises so employee payroll deductions remain the same.