Obamacare Hits Home

November 21st, 2013

My mom, who teaches computer applications as an adjunct professor at LIM College in New York, recently received notice that her hours would be limited because of the Affordable Care Act. She received this letter to explain it (partially). As I understand it, many universities have construed the 30 hour requirement under Obamacare to reach not only the hours an adjunct spends in class, but also the hours spent outside of class preparing. The schools are so worried about reaching that 30 hour threshold that they are affirmatively limiting how many hours an adjunct can spend working and preparing.

As a class in academia, adjuncts are not treated well. They receive low pay, high courseloads, and no benefits. Now, due to the high costs of providing benefits, the hours offered, and pay, will both decrease.

This letter is marked and characterized by the University dealing in a state of uncertainty. Not even the experts know what the law is, nor do the experts know how far back the government will look when deciding if an employee is full time or part time.

There remains to be a great deal of uncertainty around the implementation of the ACA, in general, and specifically, the method of calculating part-time college faculty’s hours worked outside the classroom. This includes regulations that have not yet been put into place, but about which there has been speculation throughout the nation’s academic community. There are also unresolved issues concerning how far back the government will look to determine the hours to be counted under the ACA.

For now, let’s put aside the fact that the President “delayed” the business mandate for the next year. In the real world, private employers still have to comply with the law, regardless of whether the Executive decides to enforce it.


Both of my parents purchase their own insurance, and I fear they will receive cancellation notices at some point next year.

Last night I was talking to my dad about this. He voted for Obama in 2008 and was a lifelong Democrat. He didn’t vote for Obama in 2012. He told me, “So this is Obama’s America?”

Update: Here is the initial letter my mom received, limiting her hours to 25 hours per week because of the ACA.

LIM to Adjuncts_Final