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Health care reform confuses colleges

Anticipation of health care changes costs part-time teachers

Friday, Aug 23, 2013 5:15 PM
Last updated Sunday, Aug 25, 2013 2:08 AM
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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.

Hours were cut for a number of adjunct or part-time faculty at the college, in part because it is moving on 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-a-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.

In July, the Obama administration decided to delay that requirement one year, from 2014 to 2015, along with the penalties for not providing insurance for employees.

However, Georgia Military College had already begun taking steps to limit faculty hours. Professional associations advised 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, the college’s director of human resources.

The college has to plan months ahead to know who is going to teach what course, he said. So he advised campus directors to begin weighing hours that way and to curb those who might qualify as full time.

Each employee on the health plan costs the college $7,155, and that will go to $9,000 for family coverage next July, Strom said.

“It would not take many of those to really create a financial issue for our annual business plan,” he said. “We’re doing the best we can in a very tough market. Higher education has become very competitive.”

Any extra expense would have to be covered by enrollment or tuition increases, Strom said.

But the advice the college was following was wrong. The Col­lege and University Pro­fessional Association for Hu­man Resources and other higher education groups met with the IRS last year and in the spring to talk about this and other issues, President and CEO Andy Brantley said.

It was “to bring to their attention some of the particular challenges associated not just with higher education but with part-time employees in general,” he said. So far, the IRS has not responded, Brantley said.

“There is no specific guidance from the Internal Revenue Service at this point in time that gives us the specific information we need as employers to determine next steps,” he said.

Colleges and universities should be prepared to deal with the issue, Brantley said, “but making a formal decision at this point in time is not necessary to be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.”

Georgia Military College isn’t alone in acting now. A survey by the academic HR group found a quarter of schools had already decided how they will calculate part-time hours and two-thirds are working on it, Brantley said.

The drop in hours has Jim Brady, who teaches communications at Georgia Regents University and as an adjunct at Georgia Military College, wondering how he will meet all of his bills.

“Somebody is not going to get paid because the money will not be there,” he said.

Strom said even if the school dropped its changes, it might just be forced to change back again next year.

“We’re going to hold the line on that,” he said. Strom urged directors to be flexible and work with adjuncts on how those hours are managed.

“The last thing we want to do is lose good part-time faculty that have worked with us for a while,” he said.

Strom said he is looking for information every day on how and when different aspects of the law will kick in.

“In my 26 years of doing human resources, this is the most complex law and the most confusing implementation of any major law that I have seen at the federal level,” he said.

Brantley said he can sympathize with that confusion.

“I don’t fault that institution or that HR person at all,” he said.

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deestafford
25943
Points
deestafford 08/24/13 - 12:00 am
12
2
Well, well. I wonder how many liberal college professors,

lecturers, administrators et. al. who voted for obama are still driving around with his bumper sticker on their car.

Seven out of every eight jobs created under obama have been part-time jobs and the academics still support him.

And these are the people teaching our kids and grand kids.

Dixieman
14223
Points
Dixieman 08/24/13 - 07:54 am
10
2
Anybody could see this coming

Except liberals who believe the Health Care Fairy would come and sprinkle Obamacare dust on them and give them something for free, in violation of the first law of economics.

allhans
23517
Points
allhans 08/24/13 - 06:47 pm
4
1
Watched on CSpan and of the

Watched on CSpan and the main complaint voiced was that a company might have, in the past, worked 55 employees and 10 of the younger employees didn't want to participate due to the fact that their share was costly so they would go forgo it.
That will no longer be permitted, the employee is mandated to join...No one, the employers nor the employees were happy with this....the question was asked if the employee would get help with his end and the "panel" didn't have the answer.

raul
4513
Points
raul 08/24/13 - 03:37 pm
3
1
Deestafford's comment pretty

Deestafford's comment pretty much sums it up!

TakeAHike
186
Points
TakeAHike 08/24/13 - 03:55 pm
3
7
Oh the irony

So the school is going to continue to be freeloaders on society by manipulating the hours so they don't have to pay benefits. Employers need to consider the total cost of salary and benefits as the cost to fill a position. Like it or not, that's how our economy is based. The irony of the article is that if this lousy employer had hited full-time professors and paid benefits to begin with instead of being cheap and offering adjunct positions, this man wouldn't have been in debt for his wife's medical bills!

GnipGnop
11817
Points
GnipGnop 08/24/13 - 04:41 pm
6
1
That's what ya get when you sign it before you read it

The first law of contracts was ignored because it didn't affect the signers one bit. Want me to buy into government anything then it must be followed by EVERYONE, especially the ones who sign it into law...

jimmymac
36622
Points
jimmymac 08/24/13 - 04:50 pm
6
2
OBAMACRE
Unpublished

Obamacare will slide this country into another recession as soon as the full impact of the law takes effect. It's what the dems wanted so let them have it and pay at the voting booth next election. Obama is trying to delay the debacle of the personal mandate until after the election for large companies and unions but it will hit them right in the face after 2014 and they all have it coming. Most rational people understood you can't give 47 million people free healthcare without someone paying through the nose for it. This is just the beginning!

allhans
23517
Points
allhans 08/24/13 - 06:53 pm
4
1
Obama is out on the stump

Obama is out on the stump telling college kids (always his chosen audience) that Republicans in congress is to blame. There are some who will believe him, many others know better. He has made himself insignificant.

corgimom
31000
Points
corgimom 08/25/13 - 06:05 am
3
0
"Professional associations

"Professional associations advised 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, the college’s director of human resources."..."But the advice the college was following was wrong"

And there you have it.

Georgia Military College runs its college based on inaccurate "advice" given by professional associations instead of consulting their attorneys.

Riverman1
82076
Points
Riverman1 08/25/13 - 07:50 am
2
1
First Criticism of Obamacare

The very first criticism of Obamacare I saw was captured on video when a Pennsylvania Congressman was speaking to seniors in an assisted living home. One asked him how much all this would cost and he said it would actually save money. Those old folks nearly laughed him out of the building. They haven't been proven wrong yet.

Bear - Lillian Smith
65
Points
Bear - Lillian Smith 08/25/13 - 08:28 am
0
0
Noc Noc --->Source

Will you post the source for the list above. I've seen several, but I noticed some were now on there which were not on the last list I saw.
Thanks

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 08/25/13 - 08:33 am
0
1
Wow.. can't believe there's
Unpublished

Wow.. can't believe there's this many of you being blinded. If the republicans would have sat down and worked with democrats the healthcare reform would have been easier to set up. Instead there are exceptions here and there, wiggle room all over the place instead of a firm system that would work. I just can't see how people can look at getting basic healthcare to ALL Americans is such a bad idea when there are millions of people out here without it. Instead, we give tax breaks to companies that are getting cheaper and cheaper in what they offer workers. Long gone are the days of employer sponsored pensions and benefits. They've gotten greedy and thrown most of their employees into part time instead of giving them something to work towards. As for the part time professor at this college.. says he works at GRU.. he probably already has healthcare through them - if you already have healthcare you're supposed to be exempt. Sounds like more baiting from the AC

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 08/25/13 - 08:36 am
1
2
"And there you have
Unpublished

"And there you have it.'
corigmom, The objective is gov't run health care. The gov't will make the decisions about the health care you will receive. But the lying, America hating, racist low life in the WH is trying to avoid big losses in the next election.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 08/25/13 - 08:46 am
2
1
" He has made himself
Unpublished

" He has made himself insignificant."
allhans, I agree but the REAL PROBLEM is summed up by the following letter.
The following letter is from the Czech Republic newspaper Prager Zeitung on April 28, 2010 that zeros in on the really serious problem in this country. ‘The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.
“The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.”
The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him president.’

Graymare
2984
Points
Graymare 08/25/13 - 08:01 pm
1
0
"But the advice the college was following was wrong"

"But that's their story and their stickin' to it!!!" Imagine that!

nocnoc
41007
Points
nocnoc 08/25/13 - 09:18 am
1
1
The URL's for the List

I web searched it.

"Companies exempted from Obamacare"
"Organizations exempted from Obamacare"
"Unions exempted from Obamacare"
"Associations exempted from Obamacare"

Somewhere in that group I found the list.

1 problem I have noted using Web Searches lately is promoted/Planted Obama pieces tend to be at the top and I have to dig deeper and deeper for facts. And even deeper to verify what I find.

In this case
The List
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2900475/posts
http://www.freerepublic.com/home.htm

The Total Number
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/01/06/how-many-businesses-are-exemp...

justthefacts
21260
Points
justthefacts 08/25/13 - 10:29 am
3
1
Typical

“There is no specific guidance from the Internal Revenue Service at this point in time that gives us the specific information we need as employers to determine next steps,” he said.
The Dims passed a law and were in such a hurry to get it done they failed to cover such issues. You know, "read it after we pass it".

Bear - Lillian Smith
65
Points
Bear - Lillian Smith 08/25/13 - 10:51 am
0
1
Thanks nocnoc

I appreciate the links.

gargoyle
15924
Points
gargoyle 08/25/13 - 01:19 pm
0
1
We have the most complicated

We have the most complicated tax regulations in the world administered by bureaucrats who cant interpret the spaghetti they have written into law. Now we turn over our health care system lock stock and barrel to the same Bureaucrats. The same confusion over a taxed dollar will apply to your next surgery or how to treat the flu. Just like the taxed dollar the payers will be penalized with little or no recourse while the cheaters run wild. Why ? because the politicians want it that way.

Little Lamb
45207
Points
Little Lamb 08/25/13 - 02:04 pm
0
1
Reporting

A couple of things about the reporting trouble me:

However, Georgia Military College had already begun taking steps to limit faculty hours. Professional associations advised 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, the college’s director of human resources. . . . But the advice the college was following was wrong. The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources and other higher education groups met with the IRS last year and in the spring to talk about this and other issues. . . . So far, the IRS has not responded. There is no specific guidance from the Internal Revenue Service at this point in time.

The first thing that bothers me is that reporter Tom Corwin gives the name of the professional organization that says the other professional organizations are wrong, inept, corrupt, etc. We readers of The Chronicle deserve to know the names of some of those groups. Why were Corwin and the publishers of The Chronicle afraid to list their names?

Another thing is that we have opinion sitting on the front page of the newspaper. It is wrong for Corwin to say that the advice was wrong. No one can say at this point (when the IRS has not offered guidance) whether the advice is right or wrong. Advice is just advice. You are predicting the future. No one expects advice to be absolutely correct 100% of the time.

If one professional organization gives you advice that the near future regarding Obamacare will be sunny and rosy for your university, so just have a party and be merry, that is one kind of advice. But if several other professional organizations advise you to tighten your belt, reduce your employee expenses as much as you can, get as many employees below thirty hours as you can; because the procedures of Obamacare will cripple organizations who do not — that advice might very well be heeded, because it might be correct. Tom Corwin has no crystal ball to say that such advice is wrong.

corgimom
31000
Points
corgimom 08/25/13 - 05:34 pm
0
0
I cannot understand why the

I cannot understand why the Board of Trustees of that college isn't calling for some resignations, who runs a college like this? PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, really?

Something is very, very off about this.

corgimom
31000
Points
corgimom 08/25/13 - 05:35 pm
0
0
WHO KNOWS what the IRS will

WHO KNOWS what the IRS will rule about ANYTHING???

The IRS doesn't even know how they will rule about things!

corgimom
31000
Points
corgimom 08/25/13 - 05:37 pm
0
0
LL, any professional

LL, any professional organization that tells its members how the IRS is going to rule on something, before they have- something is extremely wrong.

I'm telling you, something isn't right about this. No professional organization is qualified to tell its members how the IRS will rule on anything.

That's like predicting what verdict a judge will find on a court case that hasn't even been tried yet.

Little Lamb
45207
Points
Little Lamb 08/25/13 - 09:39 pm
0
1
Calm Down

Calm down, Corgimom. Those professional organizations are giving advice as to how to avoid massive cost increases from the Affordable Care Act. Their advice — reduce the number of employees credited with thirty hours or more a week — is sound. It is not "wrong advice," as reporter Tom Corwin would try to persuade us. It is merely the best advice the professional organizations (still unnamed) had to give with the information they had at the time.

There is nothing sinister with the advice. With the reporting, however, there are hints of bias.

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