Tag Archives: Health Care

Affordable Health Insurance for County Contractors

In the fall of 2013, I began working to make sure the lowest income employees of Montgomery County’s contractors had access to affordable health insurance. In 2014, I introduced Bill 14-14, requiring County contractors to provide affordable health insurance to
health-insurancetheir employees.

Through the legislative process, the bill was amended (and passed in April 2015) to make some very important changes to help these employees obtain health insurance. First, the new law requires County contractors to allow Health and Human Services (HHS) employees to help their employees sign up for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during work hours. The Council added $30,000 to the budget this year for HHS staff that will focus on this target population. Next, Bill 14-14 requires all County contractors to submit payroll reports that include information on how many of their employees have health insurance and the premium split. This information will allow the County to better understand the universe of uninsured employees of County contractors so we can provide help to get them covered. Finally, the new law strengthens the Living Wage Law by requiring the County to keep these payroll/health insurance records on file for at least three years. This provision will enable employees to challenge employers in court if they believe they were paid less than the Living Wage. The Council added about $100,000 to the budget to enforce this section of the law.

While Bill 14-14 was a good first step, the work of making sure employees of County contractors have access to affordable health insurance is not over. That’s why I introduced Bill 5-15, which creates an incentive for businesses to provide insurance to their employees that seek to do business with the County. The bill creates a preference (to be determined for each contract) for businesses that offer health insurance to their employees. Today, the Council approved Bill 5-15 by a vote of 7-1.

I want to thank my colleagues for their support of these initiatives over the past two years. Bill 14-14 and Bill 5-15 will ensure more of our lowest-paid workers have access to affordable health insurance.


FY16 Savings Plan Update

FY16 Savings Plan Comparison

Click here for all the details about the FY16 Savings Plan approved by the Council on July 28, 2015.

Montgomery Council Approves Bill to Increase Access to Health Insurance for Employees of Contractors

Nancy with workers

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 14, 2015—The Montgomery County Council today approved amended Bill 14-14 that will require the County’s Department of Health and Human Services to assist employees of County contractors and subcontractors who do not have employer-sponsored health insurance to apply for insurance on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. The bill also will require contractors and subcontractors to permit employees to meet with HHS representatives for this purpose on company time.

The chief sponsor of the bill is Councilmember Nancy Navarro. The bill was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, Hans Riemer and former Councilmember Cherri Branson. The bill was approved today by a vote of 9-0.

The amended bill also will require contractors to report to the County’s Office of Procurement on the number of its employees who have health insurance. Procurement will be required to report to the Council and the County Executive on the number of County contractor and subcontractor employees without health insurance. Additionally, the bill strengthens the existing Living Wage Law by requiring the County to retain quarterly payroll reports submitted by contractors. The law would sunset after two years unless the Council decides to extend it.

“Employees of County contractors deserve access to affordable health insurance,” said Councilmember Navarro. “Bill 14-14 is an important step toward ensuring that the County Government assists low-income employees, such as sanitation workers, in obtaining health insurance and receiving federal subsidies for which they are eligible. This bill will allow the County to collect and retain data, for the first time, to better understand how many of these employees do not have access to health insurance.”

The provisions of Bill 14-14 apply to contractors who are covered under Bill 5-02—the Living Wage Law—that was enacted by the Council on June 11 2002. The Living Wage Law requires certain businesses that provide services (but not goods) to the County to pay employees working on a County contract a minimum living wage effective July 1, 2003. The current living wage has been adjusted to $14.15 per hour.

Bill 14-14 takes another step toward making sure employees of contractors are aware that they could be eligible for federal health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and will assist them in applying.

Montgomery Council President Navarro Participates in Regional Latino Health Forum

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Today

Hosted Forum to Highlight Regional Issues

Related to Access and Quality of Care in Latino Community

ROCKVILLE, Md., September 30, 2013—Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro today participated as a panelist with several regional elected and appointed officials at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s (COG) Latino Health Forum. The panel discussion, which highlighted healthcare disparities in the Latino Community, included Walter Tejada, chairman of the Arlington County Board, and Beatriz Otero, the District of Columbia’s deputy mayor for Health and Human Services. The purpose of the forum was to increase awareness about regional issues of access and quality of healthcare in the National Capital Region.

latino health forum

The forum provided an opportunity to engage in a regional discussion about what jurisdictions are doing. It included discussion on ways to think creatively about working collaboratively to close the gap in services provided to this growing constituency. The conversation also focused on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Consistent with national trends, Latinos face a variety of barriers to receiving high-quality health care services because of economic factors, language barriers and cultural competency in the delivery of health care.

“This conference represents an important first step toward developing a regional approach to bridging the gap in access to quality care for everyone in our community,” said Council President Navarro.

The forum took place at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C., and the agenda consisted of several panel discussions covering a range of important issues around the provision of healthcare for Latinos in jurisdictions across the metropolitan area.

After each panel discussion there was a question-and-answer period. Attendees included stakeholders from non-profit organizations, private and public healthcare providers, community-based organizations and local health department officials.

A Regional Latino Health and Community Resources Directory was provided to participants as a resource that includes a list of more than 100 agencies and programs that serve the communities of the National Capital Region. Copies are available for download through the COG web site at www.mwcog.org.

For more information about the forum, contact Bertha Flores in the office of Council President Navarro at bertha.flores@montgomerycountymd.gov .
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