HealthCare Reform – Impact for University of Florida employees
Paula Varnes Fussell, Vice President for Human Resource Services
The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (ACA) required that employers provide medical benefits to employees averaging 30 hours or more of work per week, beginning January 1, 2014. Even though the Federal Government delayed the employer requirement until January of 2015, the State of Florida will begin offering health care insurance to OPS (Other Personal Services) and other temporary employees during Open Enrollment this fall. If an eligible employee enrolls, the coverage would become effective January 1, 2014.
State agencies and the public universities in Florida have been working with the Division of State Group Insurance to identify temporary employees who may be eligible to enroll in state insurance plans during Open Enrollment. We estimate UF will have between 2,000 to 4,000 OPS/temporary employees who may be eligible for insurance based on the average number of hours worked each week. This includes adjunct faculty, clinical postdocs, postdoctoral associates, residents, interns and other administrative OPS. For the purpose of calculating adjunct faculty hours worked, the state has instructed the universities to count 3 hours worked for each credit hour taught.
Temporary employees who are determined eligible by the Division of State Group Insurance will soon be receiving Open Enrollment packets from People First, the third-party administrator for the state. The packet will provide information on available plans, including premium cost and enrollment instructions. Of the group that will likely be determined eligible by the state, approximately 60% (primarily residents and postdocs) are already eligible to receive health insurance under GatorCare. Individuals who are eligible for both the state health and GatorCare health insurance plans may choose to enroll in either GatorCare or the state plan but not both. For more information on eligibility, please visit the State of Florida’s FAQ page, http://www.dms.myflorida.com/content/download/92723/531589.
For OPS employees who elect state health insurance, the coverage will become effective on January 1, 2014, and will continue for a 12 month period provided they remain employed. In addition to health insurance, the state will begin offering OPS employees supplemental benefits such as life, vision and dental. The premium cost for the state health insurance will be shared by the employee and the university, while employees will pay the entire cost of UFSelect supplemental plans. Many temporary employees covered by GatorCare are already eligible for UFSelect. Employees who are eligible for both state and UFSelect plans should carefully review their options to avoid enrolling in plans during Open Enrollment which duplicate coverage.
Hiring departments and supervisors, please note that the UF fringe benefit rate increased from 2.9% in 2013 to 4.6% for 2014 to include the impact of legislation related to the employer cost of insurance plans under the ACA. This fringe benefit pool change was communicated in July of 2013: http://www.hr.ufl.edu/benefits/fringepool/memo.htm. In situations where OPS or temporary employees work for the university and another state agency, and the combined effort makes them eligible for insurance, your department may also be responsible for a portion of the cost with the other agency.
For more information on this year’s Open Enrollment offerings, please visit the Benefits section of the HRS website at http://www.hr.ufl.edu/benefits. If you have additional questions regarding the state insurance plan, please call People First at (866) 663-4735. For general benefits questions, please contact University Benefits at (352) 392-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.