About 500 UM part-time workers will not receive health care until 2015

Monday, July 15, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:22 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 15, 2013

COLUMBIA — About 500 part-time employees of the University of Missouri System who were supposed to be offered health-care coverage starting in 2014 will have to wait another year.

Last month, Betsy Rodriguez, system vice president for human resources, told the UM System Board of Curators that the employees would gain the coverage to comply with the Affordable Care Act.

But the Obama administration announced on July 2 it was pushing back the date for that requirement to 2015. That means the UM System will wait.

"We do not intend to offer medical benefits to part-time employees of the system at this time," system spokesman John Fougere said in an email. "Going forward, we will use the coming year to put processes into effect to ensure that the UM system is in full compliance with the Affordable Care Act."

The affected employees are those who work at least 30 hours a week, according to a PowerPoint presentation on the curators' Web site. 

The expected cost of the expansion of health care benefits was about $2.4 million for 2014, the presentation said. If the UM System didn’t comply with the law, it would face a penalty of about $39 million.

The extension allows the system to save the money it would have spent on the coverage this year, Fougere said.

He said the system doesn't expect many of the employees to accept the health care.

"Employees who are eligible would have to choose the coverage and, of course, pay the employee share of the premium," he said in an email. "Given employees' part-time wages, it is unlikely that many of the potentially eligible employees would do so."

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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