While public employers are known for relatively generous health care benefits, many have come to rely more on workers who haven’t qualified for benefits until the ObamaCare law. By next year, large employers will have to offer affordable coverage to 95% of full-time workers or else pay a penalty of more than $2,000 for every full-timer (beyond 30 employees). The University of North Carolina System, which includes NC State, said in February that it could cost $47 million to insure 8,586 employees who clock at least 30 hours but haven’t previously qualified for benefits. NC State responded with a policy that restricts undergrads to 20 hours per week and grad students to 29, while limiting teaching loads for adjunct faculty. Departments seeking exceptions need a dean’s approval and must fund the extra health costs of $448 per month for each part-timer who receives health benefits. While ObamaCare’s employer mandate takes effect in January, fines will be based on work hours measured in 2014, so employers need to be proactive to avoid penalties. Ivy Tech Community College, with nearly 200,000 students at 30 campuses across Indiana, set its plan for scaling back the number of courses part-time faculty could teach in June 2013 just before the Obama administration delayed the employer mandate by a year. But the move to avoid as much as $10 million in new liability under ObamaCare by limiting hours appears to be taking a toll.
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