Topics: Obamacare

College cuts student hours to avoid being bankrupted by Obamacare

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Beltway Confidential,Health,Joel Gehrke,Obamacare,Health and Human Services

Christendom College students, along with the rest of the school's part-time employees, will have their hours cut as a result of the health insurance mandate in Obamacare.

"It would bankrupt the college," chief operations officer Ken Ferguson told the Washington Examiner during a Wednesday phone interview. "We would go out of business."

Christendom is a small (about 400 students) liberal arts college in Front Royal, Va. "We have approximately a $10 million operating budget and we currently spend about $1.1 million in insurance costs to cover our roughly 100 full-time employees ... and we would have roughly 100 [additional employees], split evenly between student employees and non-student part-time employees, who would be mandated by the Obamacare legislation to receive insurance because they work more than 30 hours a week," Ferguson explained.

"And, if you do the simple extrapolation, it would cost us another $1.1 million to insure them, which is more than 10 percent of our operating budget, and it would bankrupt the college," he said.

Obamacare contains a mandate that all employers with more than 50 full-time workers have to provide insurance to their staff. A Health and Human Services regulation defines "full-time" as 30 hours, rather than the typical 40-hour workweek, so the students and other part-time employees -- who used to work up to 35 hours a week -- are having their hours cut. (Ferguson said they're capping the weekly hours in 2014 even though the administration delayed the mandate until 2015 because Christendom's fiscal year runs from July 2014 to July 2015.)

Under the new policy, part-time employees of the college can work no more than 29 hours per week. "All of our part time workers will be reduced to 29 hours as a consequence of Obamacare Employer Mandates," college spokesman Niall O'Donnell told the Washington Examiner. "We are the largest employer in Warren County and this law will affect hundreds of employees and have a negative effect on the local economy as a consequence."

As Christendom students are having their hours cut due to Obamacare, so they also lost the health insurance provided by the college before the law's enactment.

"It was very common for colleges to provide insurance for their students, it was very cheap, but insurance companies will no longer provide that insurance post-Obamacare," Ferguson said. "The student insurance policies were perfect policies for students but they were basically crisis policies ... Under the new legislation, these insurance policies had to have minimum [coverage] and as a consequence they became cost-prohibitive for the students to buy."

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