Watchdog report finds MCPS stored M to .5M in insurance coverage premiums

Watchdog report finds MCPS stored $3M to $13.5M in insurance coverage premiums

This story was up to date at 2:45 p.m. June 10, 2022, to incorporate extra feedback from MCPS.

A report from the county’s inspector normal has discovered that Montgomery County Public Colleges owes from $3 million to $13.5 million in pay as you go medical insurance premiums to a whole lot of staff who’ve both retired or resigned.

The inspector normal began investigating the matter after receiving a tip by its hotline in March. The tipster defined that MCPS instructor salaries are paid over a 10-month interval and can’t be unfold out over 12 months. Due to this, medical insurance premiums are prorated over a 10-month cycle to ensure that protection to proceed all through your entire yr. 

“When a instructor retires, their medical insurance protection by the energetic worker medical insurance plan is terminated and so they should acquire protection underneath a separate retiree plan,” the report reads. “Upon retirement, the pay as you go insurance coverage premium is forfeited.”

After interviewing a number of senior managers, the inspector normal discovered that the healthcare insurance coverage premiums follow has been occurring since not less than 2000, however that MCPS Interim Superintendent Monifa McKnight and her administration have been solely just lately notified of the problem.

Refunds have been given to staff over the last three years, starting from $200 to $900 relying on the insurance coverage plan, the report said. An worker would request the refund after they retire or resign from the system.  

Efforts to offer refunds earlier than that didn’t happen that point haven’t appeared to happen, the report said.

The inspector normal estimated that if the follow has continued for the final 22 years, then MCPS retained about $136,000 to $615,000 per yr. Meaning in whole, the district  has held on to about $3 million to $13.5 million in medical insurance premiums that ought to have been refunded to staff.

“A senior supervisor instructed us that MCPS had discussions with the Montgomery County Schooling Affiliation concerning the problem roughly seven or eight years prior however couldn’t present another specifics apart from to say that the matter was not pursued,” the report reads.

Megan Limarzi, the county’s inspector normal, couldn’t instantly be reached for remark Friday.

MCPS spokesman Chris Cram declined to remark by way of e-mail Friday morning. He mentioned the district will ship a message to the group later within the day that can function its  assertion on the matter.

In that message, MCPS officers wrote that they have been implementing “a state-of-the-art human capital administration software program system to higher handle the fee of profit premiums,” and that they’d take additional measures to handle and proper the impression that the system had on earlier staff who retired or resigned from the district.

The inspector normal really helpful that MCPS officers establish the extent of overpayments, together with throughout the time period once they occurred. The report added that MCPS ought to “develop an equitable and efficient plan” to compensate affected staff and create insurance policies to make sure the problem doesn’t proceed.

In a response letter, McKnight wrote that her administration grew to become conscious of the problem in December 2021. They then took a number of steps to handle the issue, ending with offering data to  employees members that they’re entitled to a refund for pay as you go medical insurance premiums by way of a “For Your Profit” publication, once they begin working for the district.

McKnight additionally wrote that new software program is being put in and will probably be in place by January 2023, permitting MCPS officers to gather medical insurance premiums for 10-month staff over a 12-month interval.

Workers author Caitlynn Peetz contributed to this report.

Steve Bohnel may be reached at [email protected]