SHORT PUMP—The Charlottesville School Board is continuing to mull whether or not to extend health insurance to the spouses of employees who are eligible to receive those benefits from their own employers.

In August, the University of Virginia announced that they would stop providing health insurance to spouses who can receive those benefits elsewhere. That move saw 35 employees enroll in the school division’s insurance plan and will come with a cost of $200,000 per year.

“It’s definitely on everyone’s radar,” said Ed Gillaspie, Charlottesville’s finance director, at the School Board’s annual retreat in Short Pump outside of Richmond.

The City of Charlottesville or Albemarle County government following suit with UVa would have the biggest immediate impact on the schools, Gillaspie said.

The division currently insures 150 spouses, but they don’t know if those spouses could get coverage elsewhere.

Staff recommended that Charlottesville City Schools either mirror UVa’s action or implement a monthly $100-300 surcharge for spouses who can get health insurance through their employer, but choose to remain on the school division’s plan.

A $250-300 surcharge, or a move similar to UVa’s, division documents show, would mitigate costs “by approximately $126,000 of the approximately $200,000 cost of the 35 employees identified.”

School Board member Jennifer McKeever said a surcharge would have to be affordable, while School Board member Amy Laufer said retaining spouses should remain cost-neutral to the division.

The Board will revisit the issue in the fall when they begin discussing the budget.