Affordable Care Act Implications FAQs
What is the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
ACA is new federal health care law aimed at increasing the number of Americans covered by health insurance. ACA takes effect January 1, 2014, and includes a number of provisions:
- Guaranteed issue prohibits insurers from denying coverage to individuals due to pre-existing conditions.
- Partial community rating requires insurers to offer the same premium price to all applicants of the same age and geographical location without regard to gender or pre-existing conditions (excluding tobacco use).
- Individual mandate requires all individuals not covered by an employer sponsored health plan, Medicaid, Medicare, or other public insurance programs to secure an approved private insurance policy or pay a penalty unless the individual has a financial hardship or is a member of a recognized religious sect exempted by the IRS. The law includes subsidies to help people with low incomes comply with the mandate.
- Health insurance exchanges will serve as an online marketplace where individuals and small businesses can compare policies and buy insurance (with a government subsidy if eligible).
- Young adults who are under 26 may be eligible to be covered under their parent’s health plan.
Read the full law at: http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/law/index.html
How will the new ACA law impact colleges, universities, and businesses?
ACA requires employers to offer health benefits to an employee who works an average of 30 hours or more per week.
Does ACA require employers to pay dependent coverage?
No. ACC employees eligible for ACA health benefits may enroll their dependents but are required to pay for their coverage.
How much does it cost ACC?
The cost is $6,000 – $10,000 per employee, per year, depending on the plan. The total budgeted amount for employee health insurance for FY14 is $14 million.
Who is eligible for health benefits at ACC?
There are no changes to eligibility for full-time faculty and staff. All full-time employees will continue to receive healthcare coverage. In addition, employees who have worked 30 hours per week or more for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 are now eligible for health benefits.
How does the implementation of ACA impact Adjunct Faculty?
There will be no change to classroom workloads. Administrative Rule 4.06.013 (approved 5/21/2010) states, “Members of the Adjunct Faculty will have a workload that is no more than 9 credit hours and no more than 11 LEH in any single Fall or Spring semester and no more than 6 credit hours in any Summer semester.” The appropriate Vice President and Executive Vice President/Provost must approve exceptions to the rule.
Can an Instructional Associate (IA) work as an hourly in addition to the hours as an adjunct?
Can an Adjunct Faculty member also work as an hourly?
How will ACA impact Adjunct Faculty who also work as hourly employees?
ACC administration has received an HR recommendation to limit the combination of teaching workload hours and hourly employment to a total of 28 hours per week. The administration is still reviewing this recommendation.
Can an employee sign a waiver of healthcare insurance and teach more hours than the limit?
This is not an option at this time.
How is time calculated for faculty?
There is no change to the calculation. ACC will continue to use the state recommended TRS calculation of hours per week for class or instruction time. Every one hour of instruction time is counted as two clock hours. All work performed at the college is included when calculating whether an employee is working 30 hours or more per week (instruction, hourly, stipends, etc.).
What is the impact to hourly employees?
There is no change. The college will continue to follow the Administrative Rule that hourly employees may not work more than 19 hours per week for the academic year. This includes all positions with the college.
If the employee has health insurance through a spouse or other employment, do they have to enroll in ACC’s health plan?
No. The employee will have the opportunity to opt out or waive insurance coverage when completing the necessary insurance forms during the enrollment period.
When do these new benefits begin?
Health insurance has a waiting period of 60 days. Once the waiting period is exhausted, health insurance takes effect the first of the month following the 60th day.
TEACHER RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF TEXAS (TRS)
What has changed with TRS?
New TRS regulations specifically define adjunct faculty and eligibility for TRS benefits. Employees that customarily work 20 hours or more per week over a specified period of time will now be eligible for TRS (retirement) retroactive to September 1, 2013.
Will Adjunct Faculty be eligible for TRS?
Yes, all employees who work 20 hours or more per week are now eligible. There are approximately 150 Adjunct Faculty who currently qualify.
How will they be notified?
Eligibility has already been determined. They are recieveing notice from ACC Human Resources.
When will retirement benefits begin?
The TRS contribution for eligible employees will be retroactive to September 1, 2013.
What is the cost to employees?
Currently, Adjunct Faculty contribute 6% to the ACC Money Purchase Plan. The TRS mandatory employee contribution is 6.4% Therefore, eligible Adjunct Faculty employees will contribute an additional 0.4% per month retroactive to September 2013.
What is ACC’s contribution?
ACC will contribute 6.8% to TRS eligible employees. The employer match for the ACC Money Purchase Plan was 1.5%.
What happens to the ACC Money Purchase Plan?
TRS eligible Adjunct Faculty will be withdrawn from the ACC Money Purchase Plan and monies refunded (September 2013 - November 2013).
When do TRS deductions and refunds begin?
Deductions and refunds will be made to the December 2013 paycheck.
Where can one find more information about ACA and TRS changes?
Visit the ACC Human Resources webpage at austincc.edu/hr. Employees can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to have their questions answered.