Health insurance law causes Indiana school districts to slash worker hours

Indiana insurance industry

A growing number have cut back on part time employee hours before requirements are implemented.

A number of school districts in Indiana have revealed that they are slashing back the hours of part time employees such as cafeteria workers and assistants because they state that they would not be able to afford to provide those individuals with health insurance.

The federal healthcare reforms requires all workers over 30 hours per week to be covered by an employer’s plan.

Many school districts across the state have chosen to bring the hours worked by their part time employees down below this level, so that they will not have to provide them with coverage from their health insurance plans. They feel that they would not be able to afford the cost associated with covering that many additional workers.

To avoid offering health insurance, thousands of workers are having their hours cut back below 30 per week.

Indiana Health InsuranceAmong the Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS), alone, the number of hours is being cut back for more than 600 cafeteria workers and part time teaching assistants. This has been done in order to make sure that they are compliant with the healthcare reforms from the Affordable Care Act, and to avoid a projected shortfall in their budget.

According to FWCS chief financial officer, Kathy Friend, there will be 610 workers within that district who will have their hours reduced from 30 to 25 per week, beginning on June 3. This has been the decision in order to avoid the mandated health insurance that are a part of the federal requirements. The additional cost of offering those employees coverage would have been an estimated $10 million which, says Friend, the district is unable to afford.

Friend explained that the district also decided to cut back hours because of reasons other than the health insurance requirements. The FWCS is expecting to have a much tighter budget as of 2015, and cutbacks such as the one that was just decided will need to be made in order to be able to work within it. She stated that “We have to make the decision we’re making because of a budget situation, and we really have to make it because of the insurance issue.”