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Texas schools mull over health care reform

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Texarkana, Texas -

The federal healthcare overhaul is causing issues for Texas schools, who are now scrambling to meet new guidelines for part-time employees.
    
Texarkana, Texas ISD says insurance costs have already increased and healthcare reform will now impact everyone in the district.      

TISD officials are busy reviewing their health insurance plans which now gives more employees the option of healthcare coverage and includes higher premiums and co-pays for everyone.  

"Custodians, food service employees, and substitute teachers will really be impacted in a large way," said Autumn Thomas, TISD Deputy Superintendent. "They'll have options and have to make decisions."

If they don't, Thomas says they could face penalties.

The district has about 1,000 employees.

Right now, about 60 percent of them have health care coverage through the district.

She says the school pays $245 of the premium a month per employee.

Thomas says they're reviewing their options.

"There could be where we do have to put more towards that premium in order to meet some guidelines," explained Thomas.

Some school districts in Texas may cap part-time employees' hours, while others may create new full-time positions to ease the demand from hourly workers.

Thomas says they're still working towards a specific plan for all of their employees.

"We would like to do what benefits our employees the most, because we know if we have happy employees then we'll have happy students. We really try to look at what we can afford and what's best for the employee," said Thomas.  

Texas schools will be part of a webinar in two weeks with the Texas Association of School Boards to determine the next best steps.  
    
TISD officials say they plan to train all of their employees on what to expect with the new healthcare guidelines.
    
The new plan must be in place by September 1st.

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