Officials determining impact of healthcare act on faculty

By: 

News Reporter

Administrators are in the process of determining which Texas State employees will be covered under the university’s healthcare in response to the Affordable Healthcare Act.

The ACA, which was passed in 2010, requires employers to meet certain criteria when insuring those who work for them. Under the act, Texas State has made changes to its healthcare plan for faculty and staff.

“There are so many pieces to it, only time will tell its full results,” said Michelle Moritz, associate director of Human Resources. “We are a large employer that has always offered good health benefits. So this isn’t that big of a change for us, but it is still a change.”

All changes will go into effect Sept. 1 to be in accordance with the law, Moritz said.

Under the ACA, Texas State will determine employees’ coverage by the amount of hours they work, Moritz said. All employees who work 75 percent or more, which is equivalent to 30 hours per week, will receive full coverage from the university. Faculty and staff who work 50 percent, equivalent to 20 hours per week, receive coverage as well.

Graduate students who work as teaching assistants and research assistants also receive coverage that will experience many upcoming changes, Moritz said.

“The graduate students themselves, like any other person in the U.S., have the obligation to have health insurance,” said Andrea Golato, dean of the Graduate College.

Golato said graduate students must either be insured by their parents, have student insurance or healthcare from an employer. If a person does not have health insurance, the IRS will penalize them.

“So (students) can choose to get the (university) options through the student health plan or the employee health plan,” Golato said.

The new healthcare options will allow students to eliminate the issue of finding good healthcare because the university will be taking care of it for them.

Emilio Carranco, director of the Student Health Center, said there are four plans available with a range of coverage. In the “platinum” insurance plan, 90 percent of a patient’s medical expenses are now covered by the insurance. Under the gold plan 80 percent of expenses will be covered, which remains the same under the act.

“So not only do we offer a plan, but we offer one of the best plans,” Carranco said.

Students and faculty will now have excellent healthcare and no longer have to fear about falling into a financial “catastrophe” every time they have medical issues, Carranco said.

“Our healthcare now has to be compliant with the Affordable Care Act,” Carranco said. “So all the insurance plans with poor value and quality cannot be offered anymore, which is a good thing.”