MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP - The requirement that all businesses with more than 50 employees provide health care under the Affordable Care Act will take effect in 2015, but local governments have already begun to make decisions on how to cut back on costs.
Middletown Township in Monmouth County has more than 400 public employees. It will be required to offer its full-time and certain part-time employees health care under the Affordable Care Act.
"Any of those expenses are going to be passed along to the taxpayers, and so in order to avoid having to do that, we chose to modify the work hours," says Middletown Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante.
Mercantante says 25 part-time employees work at, or just above, the 30-hour limit, so the township will reduce their hours to avoid the cost of providing them with health insurance.
Towns across the state will face similar challenges as they continue to provide services without raising taxes.
Administrators worry that cutting back on hours could affect the town's ability to respond to events like snowstorms or other emergencies.
School districts with more than 50 employees will also have to provide health insurance.