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CAMC to roll back part-time benefits

CAMC will begin cutting health care coverage for its part-time employees next year as part of a plan to trim costs by 2018, a hospital spokesman said Tuesday.

The hospital chain began informing its part-time employees last week that it will no longer offer insurance benefits to employees working 20 to 23 hours per week beginning Jan. 1, CAMC spokesman Dale Witte said.

The hospital currently offers benefits to employees that work more than 20 hours a week. Witte said 246 workers would be affected by the change.

Witte said the change is part of a four-year transition to cut costs by limiting coverage to only those employees working 30 or more hours a week.

He said the hospital chain wants to limit costs to avoid an Affordable Care Act tax on high-cost health care plans set to take effect in 2018.

"Part of health care reform's effect is that large employers have to take a look at who they cover," Witte said. "Most are planning to make some changes to their plan over the next four years."

Beginning in 2015, large employers will have to cover all full-time employees - defined as those working 30 or more hours a week - or pay a penalty.

A separate aspect of the law is a so-called Cadillac tax, which will kick in three years later and is designed to penalize employers offering high-end health care plans.

Under the law, any employer offering a plan that costs more than $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for families will have to pay a 40 percent excise tax on the amount that exceeds the threshold.

CAMC currently provides insurance to 4,881 employees. With spouses and dependents included, those plans cover 9,668 lives, Witte said.

Witte said the hospital self-insures those employees, meaning their benefits emphasize that they use services provided through the CAMC hospital chain.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of West Virginia provides administrative support for those plans.

While the 20- to 23-hour-a-week employee group will lose coverage next year, additional part-time hourly groups will be cut off in incremental amounts over the next four years.

Witte said the elimination of part-time coverage is just one of the cost-saving methods officials are looking at implementing in order to reduce costs by 2018.

"We'll be making incremental changes between now and 2018," he said. "There will be other changes on the horizon, but we're not sure what those will be exactly."

As for the employees that stand to lose coverage next year, Witte said hospital administrators are working with them to evaluate their health insurance options.

Some employees will be guided to the state's Health Insurance Marketplace to take advantage of subsidized options on the exchange.

"They may qualify for some premium credits and cost sharing assistance through the marketplace," Witte said.

He also said some employees are working with managers to see if they can adjust their work schedules in a way that will help them work more than 23 hours a week next year.

Employees can either stay in their department, or work hours in another area to meet the threshold.

Witte said about half of the 246 affected employees would likely be able to retain their coverage should they opt to work additional hours.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at

business@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.

 


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