The MU Extension County Office
Secretary Health Benefit Plan is the result of several years of
effort by staff, councils, commissions, University administration
and members of the Missouri legislature.
Health coverage will be offered through an employer-provided health
plan. Historically, employer-provided health care has been
with Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan (MCHCP). MCHCP is the state-authorized
organization that provides coverage for most state employees, and
for many other public employers. Effective January 1, 2011,
employer-provided health care plans may be with any health care
Effective May 1, 2012, employer-provided health insurance
definition has been expanded to include private insurance policies (refer
to Other Benefit Plans).
If the County Extension Council provides health premium coverage to
its benefit eligible employee(s), the Extension Health Subsidy may
be used toward reimbursing the employee for health/medical insurance
To provide the maximum flexibility for types of coverages
that a given County Extension Council might prefer for its staff, each
County Extension Council will enroll with a health provider as the employer, and will be involved with
staff in selecting preferred coverages.
For example, the health care provider may offer
dental, vision and employee assistance plans in addition to the
health plan. A County Extension Council may offer these additional plans
to staff through funding provided by the County Extension Council, staff members or
some combination thereof (each plan has specific funding
guidelines). A County Extension Council might also want to offer coverages to
part-time (less than ¾ time, or less than 30 hours per week) staff.
MU Extension funds will not be available to fund these additional coverages.
The health care provider will bill all plan costs to each Extension
County Council on a monthly basis. The full premium of the
employee's health plan and any additional coverages a County
Extension Council has offered to its staff will be paid by the
County Extension Council. County Extension Councils will
receive an Extension subsidy to apply toward the medical plan on a
There is no required contribution from the
County Extension Council to the cost of health insurance if
the Extension subsidy covers the required employer portion of the
employee only medical premium offered to secretaries or program office support staff
working 3/4 time, or more (30 or more hours per week).
(MCHCP requires entities to cover 50% of the employee only medical
County Extension Councils are, however, agreeing by virtue of their employee's
enrollment in an employer-provided health plan to ensure that appropriate deductions are made
from their employee's paychecks to cover the employee's share of
MU Extension, state funded, support for health plan premiums will be provided
for county office secretaries, or locally paid staff whose primary
duties consist of program office support for Extension program
staff. Individuals must be regularly working at least ¾ time (.75
FTE), or 30 hours per week. This support (subsidy) is intended to provide
reasonably affordable health care coverage to the individuals
employed by the council, within the constraints of available funds.
Each County Extension Council is responsible for direct notification to
the health provider and the MU Extension
Plan Administrator of any
changes in coverage, terminations, or new hires to assure that coverages and charges are correct.
Effective January 1, 2011, the Extension subsidy for employer
provided health insurance will be a flat rate based upon available
budget. The Extension subsidy is based on the employee only
rate premium and will be provided on a quarterly basis to County
Extension Councils upon receipt of a Medical/Health Insurance
Verification (see forms page). The subsidy may be adjusted due
to terminations, new hires, etc.
Calendar Year 2013 flat subsidy rate is $300.00 with the
- If the employee only total health care premium is less than
$300, the subsidy will be adjusted accordingly.
- There will be no double-dipping in government funds.
If any part of the total health premium is paid by county
government (not the County Extension Council), the subsidy will
be adjusted accordingly.
Calendar Year 2012 base allocation (subsidy rate) is $275
for employer-sponsored health insurance. If the employee only
total health care premium is less than $275, the subsidy will be
For eligible county secretaries who choose to
participate, the plan may require a monthly payroll deduction.
Employee contributions may need to be withheld from paychecks in
the month prior to coverage to provide for timely payment. Through
the Cafeteria Plan, employee deductions may be made as pretax or
after-tax contributions. It is the County Extension Council's
responsibility to ensure that appropriate amounts are withheld from
an employee's pay to cover the individual's share of health
premiums. The health plan provider bills the County Extension
Council who employs the individuals for health coverage, not the
Subsidies for .75 FTE
Consistent with University of Missouri
policy, only employees who work
three-quarter-time (.75 FTE) and above
are eligible for subsidized medical
benefits from MU
Each County as Its Own
For medical benefits, each county is a
unit under a health care provider. As the employer, each
county will make determinations concerning the health plan and any
optional coverage plans offered. This will allow each
County Extension Council the flexibility to add
additional benefits and provide
benefits for secretaries less than .75
Pre-Tax Deductions through 12/31/2007
Pre-tax deductions for health, dental or vision insurance premiums
were not possible for this
plan prior to January 1, 2008.
2008 Cafeteria Plan for Pre-Tax Deductions effective 01/01/2008
Legislation was passed that requires all entities that offer health
insurance to offer a cafeteria plan to the employees. This
legislation is effective January 1, 2008. The impact of this
legislation to Extension is that a cafeteria plan must be made
available to any Extension county council secretary participating in
the medical insurance plan. County council secretaries will
have the option to have their medical, dental or vision insurance
premiums deducted pre-tax.
For assistance in making changes to your medical, vision and/or
dental payroll items in your accounting file, contact your regional
QuickBooks trainer, or Mary Ann Horvath. For other questions about
the 2008 Cafeteria Plan, contact the MU Extension County Secretary
Benefits Plan Administrator.
Staff members that retire after the
start of the plan are able to qualify
to continue coverage with the health care provider, as they would
have an existing pension plan in effect. Retirees are required to
pay 100 percent of premiums directly to the health care provider.
County Extension Councils that have secretarial
contracts with UM are grandfathered in and maintain existing health benefits.
Present cases are subsidized for
health costs. No new contracts between
County Extension Councils and UM will be initiated for
Other Benefit Plans
Effective May 1, 2012, the subsidy may be be used for any
employer-provided or "private" health insurance premiums for a
benefit eligible secretary. Private health insurance includes the
Missouri State & Missouri Federal Health Insurance pool and Medicare
Supplement (i.e., Medigap) premiums.
The Extension subsidy may not be used for Medicare (exception for
Medicare Supplement insurance) premiums, dental and/or vision
insurance premiums , spouse and/or dependent portion of the medical
premium, insurance obtained through spouse's employment, or Medical
Effective January 1, 2011, any employer-provided (County Extension
Council paid) medical premium for a benefit eligible secretary will
be eligible to receive an Extension subsidy.
Individuals who are funded 50 percent
by a County Extension Council and 50 percent by the
University are provided benefits as a
The health care provider will bill each County Extension Council in
accordance with their own plan payment schedule. For instance,
MCHCP bills each County Extension Council prior to the beginning of
the coverage month. Remittances indicate covered individuals and the
types of coverage. Councils should verify the coverage is
County Extension Councils should pay the health care provider
receipt. Employee contributions may
need to be withheld from paychecks in
the month prior to coverage to provide
funds timely. Employee deductions must
be made in accordance with the County's Cafeteria plan (either
pre-tax or from net income after taxes).
If a County Extension Council wishes to pay the
employee's share, it will not be
considered a taxable benefit and thus
will not be included in an employee's gross
pay. Each County Extension Council is responsible for
notifying the health plan provider and the
MU Extension Plan Administrator, upon any change, termination or
employment of new secretaries to stop or change coverage. All
payments for invoices must be remitted to to the appropriate plan