Many “students have found themselves in health care limbo this semester,” reports CBS New York. “Community colleges in New Jersey used to offer cheap health insurance for hundreds of dollars a year” but cancelled coverage because the new federal health care law bans barebones policies.
Upgrading the college’s plan to meet Obamacare rules would cost “more than a thousand dollars per student,” said Stephen Nacco, a vice president at Union County Community College.
Students like Carlos Arias depended on the low-cost health care.
“I’m kind of healthy right now but I am worried that when something happens I’m not going to go to the hospital,” Arias said.
If students can sign up for Obamacare, many should qualify for subsidized policies. So far, few have been able to navigate the web site. Younger students may be insured on their parents’ health plans.
Community colleges in Maryland are cutting adjuncts’ hours to avoid paying for health insurance, reports the Baltimore Sun. Employers must provide insurance to workers who average 30 hours a week or more.
Cash-strapped community colleges in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Howard and Prince George’s counties, among other places, have pre-emptively limited adjuncts’ hours, starting this year. Expanding health coverage to such instructors would cost schools across the state $17 million, officials at the Maryland Association of Community Colleges estimated.
Community colleges in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and other states also have limited adjuncts’ work hours.
In Maryland, most adjuncts make less than $2,500 per course, which means less than $23,000 a year under the new limits.
Art history instructor Amy Poff can teach no more than three classes per semester at the Community College of Baltimore County this year. Poff, who also teaches at Harford Community College, has added a class at Howard Community College.
More colleges are limiting adjuncts’ work hours to avoid Obamacare’s insurance mandates, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Allison G. Armentrout, an adjunct instructor at Stark State College, an Ohio community college, earns $4,600 to teach two English composition courses. Though she’s not paid by the hour, she tracks her work hours to show she’s not working 30 hours a week.
On a recent week, she spent three hours preparing for her lectures, close to six hours in the classroom, and 16 more grading assignments for a grand total of about 25 hours. So she can breathe a sigh of relief because she won’t lose her job: She came in under the college’s new 29-hour-a-week wire designed to keep her ineligible for health-care coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Twice this semester, she’s undercounted her work hours to stay under the limit, says Armentrout.
Colleges in Ohio, Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have told adjuncts to keep their hours down, reports the Chronicle.
The Community College of Allegheny County reduced the workload limit for its adjuncts from 12 to 10 credits per semester. affecting about 400 part-time employees. Providing health benefits would cost at least $6 million, which would be “simply unaffordable,” said David Hoovler, executive assistant to the president. However, the college gave all its part-time employees a small raise and is trying to form a group health plan to offer part-timers discounted insurance rates.
To avoid paying for health insurance, a Pittsburgh community college will cut the work hours of 400 adjunct instructors and support staff by Dec. 31, reports Breitbart. Under Obamacare, employers have to provide insurance for employees working 30 or more hours a week. Community College of Allegheny County will cut part-timers to 25 hours a week. Adjuncts will be limited to teaching 10 credit hours a semester, down from 12, for $730 per credit hour. In all, the college will save $6 million.
The college can’t afford to fund benefits, said CCAC spokesperson David Hoovler. “Several years of cuts or largely flat funding from our government supporters have led to significant cost reductions by CCAC, leaving little room to trim the college’s budget further.”
“It’s kind of a double whammy for us because we are facing a legal requirement [under the new law] to get health care and if the college is reducing our hours, we don’t have the money to pay for it,” said adjunct biology professor Adam Davis.
“We all know we are expendable and there are plenty of people out there in this economy who would be willing to have our jobs,” said Davis.
CCAC’s faculty union doesn’t include adjuncts, notes Inside Higher Ed.
Adjunct English professor Clint Benjamin, who has been teaching at the college for six years, pays out-of-pocket for catastrophic health care coverage only and had vague hopes of improved insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Not only is he now ineligible for such help, but the course load reduction will translate to up to $600 less in pay each month.
But Benjamin still will be working full-time. Between the college and nearby Duquesne University, he currently teaches seven courses per semester. He estimated he works up to 70 hours per week, but doesn’t qualify for health insurance at either institution.
“There’s frustration and anger and sadness and resentment, you know, but you don’t have a voice,” Benjamin said.