Concerns and questions addressed
With 85 percent of CCA/CTA members receiving employer-based health insurance, there has been little negative outcry about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) among faculty.
CCA members are already benefitting from the program. Among those benefits is the ability for parents to keep adult children up to age 26 on their health plans; new regulations mandating that insurance companies offer a refund if they are spending more than 15 percent of premiums on administrative costs for larger employers; and lifetime limits for essential benefits were eliminated under the Affordable Care Act.
Still, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that many colleges nationwide have increased the share of premium costs in preparation for the law. Other institutions have adopted wellness programs, increased deductibles for in-network care and added financial incentives to encourage healthy priorities.
But adjunct faculty across the country have more dire concerns. They are hearing that they may lose their health care because some colleges are cutting hours to under 30 hours a week, thus circumventing the law to avoid paying a penalty.
While no such horror stories have been raised in California, adjunct faculty at CCA campuses have had their share of questions and have had them answered in CTA’s workshops on affordable care.
“My members were asking for the workshop, because we don’t have health benefits,” said Evelyn Elmore, president of CEFA, representing part-time faculty. “We had 70 people attending the workshop, and a lot of people were helped. One of our members came back to thank me and to tell me that after taking the workshop, he was able to find a health plan for $50 a month.”
CTA’s health benefits specialist Kathy Rallings has conducted a number of workshops for part-time faculty, both in Northern and Southern California, and has been able to allay fears that some members had about losing their coverage.
“Some small districts, with 50 or fewer full-time employees, may look at health benefits options with Covered California, but overall people with employer-based health care should not see any specific changes due to the opening of the Market Places. For our members who are not eligible for employer-sponsored health benefits, the law offers the new promise of affordable quality coverage,” Rallings said.
“California has done well in negotiating premiums,” she said. “While enrollees may not get a subsidy, premiums are reasonably priced. There’s going to be some anomalies. I did encounter one person who was upset she was losing her individual plan, but she will be paying a lot less for an equally good plan.”
Rallings reminds faculty that the deadline for signing up for health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace is March 31.