The Affordable Care Act
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Health Care Reform or Obamacare, there are a number of new requirements for employers that will require HR to track employee hours and report them to the federal government.
The employer mandate under the ACA has been delayed, but will take effect January 1, 2015. Beginning in 2015, employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer health care coverage to employees who work an average of 30 or more hours per week based on a measurement period. The law has no affect on the eligibility of employees currently in an employment category that is eligible for health care coverage. We have created this web page to help employees and supervisors understand the requirements and what actions, if any, they need to take.
We have several categories of employees that are not currently eligible for coverage in the GC medical plan. In order to comply with the new law, we must determine which (if any) of those employees work at least 30 hours per week, on average, during the measurement period.
- For non-exempt employees not currently eligible, including student employees not eligible for work-study, we will use hours submitted on timecards to determine eligibility. No employee or supervisor action is needed.
- For adjuncts or instructors, we will use a formula that applies a ratio of work hours to credit hours taught to determine whether an adjunct faculty member is eligible. The ratio Goshen College will use is 2.25 hours of credit for each credit hour taught plus one hour of service per week for each additional hour outside of the classroom performing duties he/she are required to perform (such as required office hours or required attendance at faculty meetings). Supervisors or department chairs will need to provide this information to the Academic Dean’s office for reporting purposes.
- For other exempt employees who are not currently eligible for GC’s health insurance, we will use an online form for those employees to report their weekly hours starting on July 1, 2014. HR will notify both employees and supervisors by email with instructions on how to use this method. Supervisors will be responsible to review the hours entered by the employees.
Hours Tracking for Employees Not Eligible for GC Health Insurance
The Affordable Care Act includes requirements for employers to offer medical coverage beginning in 2015 to employees who work an average of 30 hours or more per week during a 12-month measurement period. GC’s initial measurement period will be from July 1, 2014 – April 15, 2015. Non-full-time employees hired after July 1, 2014, will be measured for a 12-month period from their date of hire. Full-time new employees do not have to wait for a measurement period, but will be offered health care on their start date.
In order to determine eligibility for medical coverage for non-full-time employees beginning in 2015, HR will need to know the hours worked for several categories of employees who are not currently eligible for medical benefits. The categories of employees that we will be tracking include:
- Adjuncts/Instructors. HR will use a formula that applies a ratio of work hours to credit hours taught to determine whether an adjunct faculty member is eligible. The ratio Goshen College will use is 2.25 hours of credit for each credit hour taught plus one hour of service per week for each additional hour outside of the classroom performing duties he/she are required to perform (such as required office hours or required attendance at faculty meetings). Supervisors or department chairs will need to provide this information to the Academic Dean’s office when the adjunct/instructor is hired for reporting purposes.
- Student employees not eligible for work-study. HR will use hours submitted on timecards to determine eligibility. No employee or supervisor action is needed.
- Other categories. These include salaried employees who are paid a stipend (assistant coaches, SST spouses, student club advisors, etc.), and exempt employees working less than .75 FTE, temporary employees, and summer employees
- For those who are non-exempt, HR will track their hours using the time they have submitted in their timecards.
- For those who are exempt (and do not currently report hours worked), a new process has been developed that will require completing a simple online form each week. The data collected will be used for compliance with the ACA only. Please see the list of Frequently Asked Questions for further details about this hours reporting requirement.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) For Employees Who Need to Track Time Worked
1. What types of employees are required to track their time using the new weekly online process?
Exempt (salaried) employees who are not currently eligible for GC health insurance. Examples include salaried employees who are paid a stipend (assistant coaches, SST spouses, student club advisors, etc.) and exempt employees working less than .75 FTE. (Note: this does not affect those part-time employees who were grandparented in under our old plan requirements and are currently still eligible to receive GC medical insurance.)
2. Why do I need to track my hours?
Goshen College will be required to annually report to the federal government who is and is not a “full-time employee” as defined in the Affordable Care Act. The ACA defines full-time as working on average 30 or more hours per week during a 12-month measurement period. We have no other way of determining how many hours are worked by exempt (salaried) employees who are not currently eligible for GC’s medical insurance and who are not adjunct faculty members teaching credit-bearing courses.
3. What is the process to report hours for the ACA?
HR will collect the information using a simple, online form located on the HR webpage at: https://mygc.goshen.edu/services/hr/ACA_Hours_Reporting. Please follow these steps each week beginning the Sunday ending your first week as an employee in your current position.
- Log into the ACA reporting website with your GC username and password. If you do not know your username or password, please contact the ITS Helpdesk at 535-7700.
- Click on the calendar icon and select the date for each day worked.
- Please use a decimal format, e.g., 8.0, 7.75, 3.25, etc. If you are not sure of the exact hours, estimate to the best of your ability. If you didn’t work any hours in a particular week, there is no need to enter anything.
- When you are done with your entries, click on Submit.
- If you want to make sure the hours were reported, click on the ACA Check Hours link.
- If you put in the wrong number of hours for a particular date, you can re-enter those and it will overwrite the old one.
- If you enter hours on the wrong date, please send an email to email@example.com to notify us. We will have the incorrect date deleted.
Remember to report your hours each week until you are no longer working in a position where this is required or you terminate employment with the college. Note that your supervisor will be reviewing the hours you submit.
4. What time should I track for ACA purposes?
You should track all time spent working, including any time worked offsite.
- If you are required to travel to an offsite workplace, you should include those hours actually worked while traveling. For example, if you work while on an airplane, you should count the time worked.
- For employees who drive to an offsite workplace, only the driver should include the time spent driving.
5. What hours do I report if I am an adjunct or instructor teaching a credit bearing course?
HR automatically determines hours worked for adjuncts and instructors who teach credit-bearing courses using a formula based on the credit hours taught. The formula is 2.25 hours worked weekly per each credit hour taught. If you work additional hours other than your credit-bearing courses, for example, you are the advisor of a student club, then those hours need to be entered in the online form as out outlined above.
6. I am a student working a separate job on campus that is paid on an hourly basis. What hours do I report?
HR obtains your hours worked from the hours you submitted in your timecard. Only hours that are non-work-study are counted toward the 30-hour-per week standard required by the ACA.
7. Can an employee opt out of tracking if they have other medical coverage and don’t want GC’s medical benefits?
No. Goshen College will be required to report annually to the federal government who is and is not a “full-time employee” as defined by the Affordable Care Act (working on average 30 or more hours per week). We have no other way of determining hours worked by exempt (salaried) employees who are not currently eligible for GC’s health benefits and are not adjuncts teaching credit-bearing courses. The fact that you do or do not want or need GC’s medical benefits does not exempt you from reporting your hours on a weekly basis.
8. How does the Affordable Care Act affect me?
If you are already a full-time employee (.75 FTE or above), the ACA does not affect your eligibility or need to track hours. If an employee who is not currently eligible for GC medical coverage works on average 30 or more hours per week during the measurement period of July 1, 2014 – April 15, 2015, GC will be required to offer medical coverage to you effective July 1, 2015. We will contact any individuals in that category during the administrative period of April 15 – June 30, 2015.
9. I don’t have medical coverage right now. What can I do?
If you are an ongoing employee and do not have medical coverage, you may want to check into the new coverage offered through the government health exchange at https://www.healthcare.gov/. However, open enrollment for 2014 ended on March 31, 2014 and does not reopen until November 15, 2014. There is no penalty for 2014, but you will be required (under current law) to be covered by some type of insurance policy by 2015 or pay a penalty.
New employees would immediately be eligible for coverage through the exchange at www.healthcare.gov. There are other qualifying events that allow employees to change their coverage, both under the GC plan and the private plans. Examples of qualifying events would be marriage, divorce, birth of a child, spouse loss of employment, etc.
FAQs for Supervisors of Employees Who Need to Track Time Worked
1. I am a supervisor of an employee who needs to report time for ACA purposes. Is there anything I am required to do?
Yes, you will be required to review the hours that the employee entered each week. HR will notify you of who those employees are. If you have questions or think there is an employee who should be using online tracking that HR has missed, please contact the HR office as soon as possible.
2. What do I tell new employees who are in categories that need to track hours?
HR will give new employees in these categories a handout and explain the requirement when they come to HR to complete new employee paperwork. If they are a returning employee, please refer them to the HR webpage on the Affordable Care Act. HR will also contact them with the information on how and when to track their time, and provide them with a copy of the required Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Notice.
3. What is the formula used to determine hours worked for adjuncts and instructors teaching credit-bearing courses?
The formula GC is using is 2.25 hours worked per week for every credit hour taught plus one hour of service per week for each additional hour outside of the classroom performing duties he/she are required to perform (such as required office hours or required attendance at faculty meetings). For example, if a faculty member teaches a 3 credit-hour class, this will be tracked as 6.75 hours of work for the week.
If you have any questions about the Affordable Care Act or the tracking requirements, please contact the Human Resources office at 535-6111. Note that the information provided in this webpage is HR’s current understanding of the Affordable Care Act regulations. Some of the information may change as changes occur or additional information becomes available.