Casco considers health insurance for part-time employees

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Expanding health care coverage to part-time town employees is being considered by local selectmen.

Currently, health insurance is offered to full-time town employees. Those people working less than 40 hours a week have the option to purchase insurance plans.

As it stands, health insurance is also provided for members of the Casco Fire and Rescue Department and their immediate families.

The topic was brought up publicly for the first time at the Casco Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday. The subject of expanding health insurance coverage to more town employees was tabled and will be on the agenda of the upcoming meeting on Aug. 7.

According to Chairman Holly Hancock, the public safety department personnel receive health insurance benefits because they are not paid. The exception would be a modest stipend for employees who man the station for 12 hours during the day.

“The reason we have done that for firefighters and immediate family members is that it doesn’t pay much. So, it [health insurance] is a small benefit,” Hancock said.

The request — being put before the selectmen — is to modify the town policy regarding who qualifies for health coverage. It was presented along with the review of emergency medical bills that were overdue and were being sent to collections.

“Here is the question we have,” Hancock said, “If we are not providing health insurance for our municipal employees who are not full-time, if we write off the bill, isn’t that essentially providing health insurance?”

“I think that is something we need to figure out. I don’t have a good answer for that — without a little research,” Hancock said.

Selectman Thomas Peaslee had asked what other towns do. Later, he commented that a health insurance package could attract more applicants to town jobs.

Selectman Calvin Nutting expressed his concerns.

“That is a legal question. It is going to be complicated by Bulky Waste Facility employees,” Nutting said, referring to a facility shared with the Town of Naples.

Chairman Hancock spoke again.

“We have employees who have health insurance, but it is not provided by the Town of Casco,” she said. “We will table that until we know more.”

Please follow and like us: