The City University of New York reached an agreement with the adjunct faculty union that will allow adjunct faculty members to enroll in the New York City Health Benefits Program.
The University relied on additional funding from the State of New York in order to provide these benefits to over 1,800 adjunct faculty members in the University system. In order to qualify for health insurance through the University, adjunct faculty must teach at least a six-credit caseload and not be covered by any other plan.
According to the ACA's Employer Mandate scheduled to take effect January 1, 2015, a large employer should use a reasonable calculation to determine hours of service of adjunct faculty members. The final regulations state that the reasonable calculation of hours of service for an adjunct faculty member must account for preparation and grading time in addition to teaching time. The IRS stated that one method (but not the only method) that is reasonable is to credit an adjunct faculty member with an additional 1.25 hours of preparation and grading for each hour teaching as well as an hour of service per week for each additional hour outside of the classroom the faculty member spends performing duties he or she is required to perform.
Using the method described, an adjunct faculty member teaching more than a 13 lecture hour load (assuming no additional required hours outside of the classroom), would be considered full-time under the ACA. The City University of New York and union negotiated a more generous approach, offering coverage to adjunct faculty members teaching at least a six-credit load.
Although this agreement only impacts adjunct faculty in one New York university system, it is worth noting, since many adjunct faculty in California share the same desire to receive health insurance coverage from university and college employers.
The joint press release announcing the agreement can be found here: http://www.psc-cuny.org/health-insurance-adjuncts