TRAVERSE CITY – Grand Traverse County Commissioners learned last week how much it will cost to expand health care coverage for part-time elected officials, as well as how much it will cost to provide the same coverage to part-time employees all year.

County administrator Nate Alger at Wednesday’s regular board meeting presented these costs, although he said there were many unknowns, such as who will receive the benefits and at what level.

In December, the board voted to eliminate the part-time designation of county commissioners and drain commissioner, which will allow them to add spouses and family members to their health plans.

They are currently eligible for individual coverage.

The benefit does not take effect until January 2023 (after the next election) and at that point, if all nine commissioners opt for family coverage, the cost to the county would be around an additional $ 73,555. per year.

The county has 28 part-time employees, 16 of whom have varying levels of insurance coverage.

Part-time workers can opt for single, double or family coverage, with insurance rates prorated to the number of hours worked.

The cost to provide them with benefits equivalent to what the Commissioners will get is an additional $ 75,735 per year, assuming the same number of various plans are used.

If all part-time workers opted for family coverage, the cost would be much higher, Algiers said.

Algiers said very few employers offer benefits to part-time employees.

For the county, it is a tool for recruiting and retaining employees.

All employees and commissioners pay 20 percent of their health plans.

They also receive $ 2,000 per year if they do not take advantage of the benefit.

Commissioner Betsy Coffia asked for the numbers, saying part-time county workers should have the same benefits offered to commissioners.

This is a conversation that should have taken place during the budget workshops, which did not take place, she said.

No action has been taken by the board of directors.