Health reform already impacting college faculty | The Augusta Chronicle


Health reform already impacting college faculty | The Augusta Chronicle

Rich Herdegen is already feeling the pinch of federal health care reform.

Herdegen, who is disabled and faces massive medical bills from his wife’s long battle with cancer before her death, relies on his salary as an adjunct instructor in economics at Georgia Military College’s Augusta campus. But this quarter his hours have been cut, costing him about $2,000, he said.

“That’s a lot of money,” Herdegen said.

The cut in hours has happened to a number of adjunct or part-time faculty at the college, in part because the school is moving on what it considered good advice to comply now with requirements of the Affordable Care Act, a move that might actually be premature. Even experts in academic human resources say there is “general confusion” about the act’s implementation and impact.

At issue is the 30-hour per week rule that would make an employee count as full time under the Affordable Care Act and require a large employer to offer them insurance – what is commonly called the employer mandate.

In July, the Obama administration decided suddenly to delay that requirement one year, from 2014 to 2015, along with the penalties for not providing insurance for employees who then get a subsidy to get coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces.

But Georgia Military College had already begun taking steps before that to limit faculty hours based on advice it received from professional associations that the Internal Revenue Service would make colleges count an additional hour of preparation for every classroom hour taught, which could push some part-time faculty past the 30-hour mark, said Mark Strom, director of human resources for Georgia Military College. The college has to plan months ahead to know who is going to teach what course, he said.

via Health reform already impacting college faculty | The Augusta Chronicle.

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