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126C.41 Benefits levies.

Subdivision 1. Health insurance. (a) A district may levy the amount necessary to make employer contributions for insurance for retired employees under this subdivision.

(b) The school board of a joint vocational technical district formed under sections 136C.60 to 136C.69 and the school board of a school district may provide employer-paid hospital, medical, and dental benefits to a person who:

(1) is eligible for employer-paid insurance under collective bargaining agreements or personnel plans in effect on June 30, 1992;

(2) has at least 25 years of service credit in the public pension plan of which the person is a member on the day before retirement or, in the case of a teacher, has a total of at least 25 years of service credit in the teachers retirement association, a first-class city teacher retirement fund, or any combination of these;

(3) upon retirement is immediately eligible for a retirement annuity;

(4) is at least 55 and not yet 65 years of age; and

(5) retires on or after May 15, 1992, and before July 21, 1992.

A school board paying insurance under this subdivision may not exclude any eligible employees.

(c) An employee who is eligible both for the health insurance benefit under this subdivision and for an early retirement incentive under a collective bargaining agreement or personnel plan established by the employer must select either the early retirement incentive provided under the collective bargaining agreement personnel plan or the incentive provided under this subdivision, but may not receive both. For purposes of this subdivision, a person retires when the person terminates active employment and applies for retirement benefits. The retired employee is eligible for single and dependent coverages and employer payments to which the person was entitled immediately before retirement, subject to any changes in coverage and employer and employee payments through collective bargaining or personnel plans, for employees in positions equivalent to the position from which the employee retired. The retired employee is not eligible for employer-paid life insurance. Eligibility ceases when the retired employee attains the age of 65, or when the employee chooses not to receive the retirement benefits for which the employee has applied, or when the employee is eligible for employer-paid health insurance from a new employer. Coverages must be coordinated with relevant health insurance benefits provided through the federally sponsored Medicare program.

(d) Unilateral implementation of this section by a public employer is not an unfair labor practice for purposes of chapter 179A. The authority provided in this subdivision for an employer to pay health insurance costs for certain retired employees is not subject to the limits in section 179A.20, subdivision 2a.

(e) If a school district levies according to this subdivision, it may not also levy according to section 123A.73, subdivision 12, for eligible employees.

Subd. 2. Retired employee health benefits. A district may levy an amount up to the amount the district is required by the collective bargaining agreement in effect on March 30, 1992, to pay for health insurance or unreimbursed medical expenses for licensed and nonlicensed employees who have terminated services in the employing district and withdrawn from active teaching service or other active service, as applicable, before July 1, 1992. The total amount of the levy each year may not exceed $300,000.

Subd. 3. Retirement levies. (1) In addition to the excess levy authorized in 1976 any district within a city of the first class which was authorized in 1975 to make a retirement levy under Minnesota Statutes 1974, section 275.127 and chapter 422A may levy an amount per pupil unit which is equal to the amount levied in 1975 payable 1976, under Minnesota Statutes 1974, section 275.127 and chapter 422A, divided by the number of pupil units in the district in 1976-1977.

(2) In 1979 and each year thereafter, any district which qualified in 1976 for an extra levy under paragraph (1) shall be allowed to levy the same amount as levied for retirement in 1978 under this clause reduced each year by ten percent of the difference between the amount levied for retirement in 1971 under Minnesota Statutes 1971, sections 275.127 and 422.01 to 422.54 and the amount levied for retirement in 1975 under Minnesota Statutes 1974, section 275.127 and chapter 422A.

(3) In 1991 and each year thereafter, a district to which this subdivision applies may levy an additional amount required for contributions to the Minneapolis employees retirement fund as a result of the maximum dollar amount limitation on state contributions to the fund imposed under section 422A.101, subdivision 3. The additional levy must not exceed the most recent amount certified by the board of the Minneapolis employees retirement fund as the district's share of the contribution requirement in excess of the maximum state contribution under section 422A.101, subdivision 3.

(4) For taxes payable in 1994 and thereafter, special school district No. 1, Minneapolis, and independent school district No. 625, St. Paul, may levy for the increase in the employer retirement fund contributions, under Laws 1992, chapter 598, article 5, section 1.

(5) If the employer retirement fund contributions under section 354A.12, subdivision 2a, are increased for fiscal year 1994 or later fiscal years, special school district No. 1, Minneapolis, and independent school district No. 625, St. Paul, may levy in payable 1994 or later an amount equal to the amount derived by applying the net increase in the employer retirement fund contribution rate of the respective teacher retirement fund association between fiscal year 1993 and the fiscal year beginning in the year after the levy is certified to the total covered payroll of the applicable teacher retirement fund association. If an applicable school district levies under this paragraph, they may not levy under paragraph (4).

(6) In addition to the levy authorized under paragraph (5), special school district No. 1, Minneapolis, may also levy payable in 1997 or later an amount equal to the contributions under section 423A.02, subdivision 3, and may also levy in payable 1994 or later an amount equal to the state aid contribution under section 354A.12, subdivision 3b. Independent school district No. 625, St. Paul, may levy payable in 1997 or later an amount equal to the supplemental contributions under section 423A.02, subdivision 3.

Subd. 4. Minneapolis health insurance subsidy. Each year special school district No. 1, Minneapolis, may make an additional levy not to exceed the amount raised by a net tax rate of .10 percent times the adjusted net tax capacity for taxes payable in 1991 and thereafter of the property in the district for the preceding year. The proceeds may be used only to subsidize health insurance costs for eligible teachers as provided in this section.

"Eligible teacher" means a retired teacher who was a basic member of the Minneapolis teachers retirement fund association, who retired before May 1, 1974, or who had 20 or more years of basic member service in the Minneapolis teacher retirement fund association and retired before June 30, 1983, and who is not eligible to receive the hospital insurance benefits of the federal Medicare program of the Social Security Act without payment of a monthly premium. The district must notify eligible teachers that a subsidy is available. To obtain a subsidy, an eligible teacher must submit to the school district a copy of receipts for health insurance premiums paid. The district must disburse the health insurance premium subsidy to each eligible teacher according to a schedule determined by the district, but at least annually. An eligible teacher may receive a subsidy up to an amount equal to the lesser of 90 percent of the cost of the eligible teacher's health insurance or up to 90 percent of the cost of the number two qualified plan of health coverage for individual policies made available by the Minnesota comprehensive health association under chapter 62E.

If funds remaining from the previous year's health insurance subsidy levy, minus the previous year's required subsidy amount, are sufficient to pay the estimated current year subsidy, the levy must be discontinued until the remaining funds are estimated by the school board to be insufficient to pay the subsidy.

This subdivision does not extend benefits to teachers who retire after June 30, 1983, and does not create a contractual right or claim for altering the benefits in this subdivision. This subdivision does not restrict the district's right to modify or terminate coverage under this subdivision.

HIST: 1976 c 271 s 84; 1979 c 303 art 2 s 22; 1981 c 224 s 38; 1983 c 314 art 1 s 21; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 384 art 2 s 68; 1987 c 398 art 6 s 14; 1988 c 719 art 5 s 84; 1989 c 15 s 1; 1989 c 329 art 13 s 10,20; 1Sp1989 c 1 art 2 s 11; 1990 c 562 art 10 s 7,12; 1991 c 345 art 4 s 1; 1992 c 499 art 7 s 12,13; art 12 s 29; 1992 c 603 s 7; 1993 c 224 art 8 s 5,6; 1995 c 186 s 37; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 8 s 5; 1996 c 412 art 8 s 8; 1996 c 438 art 4 s 3; 1Sp1997 c 4 art 1 s 29-31; 1998 c 397 art 7 s 116,164; art 11 s 3; 1999 c 241 art 1 s 46