University of Vermont

Human Resource Services and Operations

Affordable Care Act FAQs

Affordable Care Act: FAQs

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a comprehensive federal health care reform law with provisions that are being phased in over a period of several years. The legislation seeks to ensure quality of coverage and guarantee access and affordability.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is changing?
Included in the Affordable Care Act is a mandate for UVM to offer medical coverage to employees who AVERAGE 30 hours per week (130 hours per month) or more across all UVM jobs over a defined measurement period. The university's measurement period is 12 months (October to October, each year).

Are there any changes for employees who are already fully benefit eligible ?
No. There are no changes for employees who are already benefit eligible. The information below applies to variable hour employees who do not currently receive health insurance coverage.

Am I required to have health insurance under the ACA?
Beginning on March 31, 2014, individuals without health insurance may be subject to an IRS fine.

Will the health insurance coverage offered by UVM change in 2015-16?
No, existing health insurance coverage will continue to be offered, unchanged and uninterrupted.

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
The Health Insurance Marketplace, sometimes known as the health insurance "exchange," was launched on October 1, 2013, as part of the ACA. It is a new way for Americans to purchase health insurance. More information on the Health Insurance Marketplace can be found at Vermonters who fit the eligibility criteria, including some UVM faculty, staff and temporary e mployees, may purchase healthcare coverage through Vermont Health Connect (VHC, also called "the Exchange" or "the Marketplace").  See the VHC website for details.

When does the Health Insurance Marketplace open?
The next open enrollment period on the Health Insurance Marketplace is November 10, 2015, through December 4, 2015, and coverage starts January 1, 2016. If you have a qualifying life event, you may be eligible to enroll outside the open enrollment period. More information on the Health Insurance Marketplace can be found at  Information on the Vermont Health Exchange will be found on the VHC website.

What is the Marketplace Coverage Options notice?
The notice is intended to provide UVM employees with some basic information about the VT Health Insurance Marketplace and their health insurance options. ACA regulations require UVM to provide this notice to all existing employees. This notice was distributed to for the first time to UVM employees in October  2013. It has also been made available to all new employees hired on and after October 1, 2013. New employees receive the notice in their new hire packet.

Is the Health Insurance Marketplace my only option for health insurance?
No. Health insurance benefits will continue to be available to eligible employees through UVM and the VT Health Care Exchange.  Other options include Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. Non-benefits-eligible employees who enroll in coverage through the Marketplace may be eligible for subsidies. More information is available at the VHC website.

What is a measurement period?
The term measurement period indicates a time frame for the employer to "look back" to determine if an employee met the 30-hour per week or 130 hours per month eligibility requirement. The next measurement period for UVM will be October 15, 2014 to October 15, 2015. Employees who AVERAGE 30 hours or more per week (130 hours per month) over this 12-month period will be offered medical coverage for the benefit year beginning January 1, 2016. This process will repeat each year.

What does the term Variable Hour Employee mean?
A variable hour employee has been referred to as "part-time" or "temporary" in the past but this language has changed for ACA purposes. A variable hour employee is one who works for the University but is not fully benefit eligible at the time of hire.

Who will be required to track work hours and how/where will they track time?

  • Hourly employees enter their time weekly in the payroll system.
  • All non-teaching exempt employees and faculty with teaching academic appointments will not track hours.  Instead, the FTE recorded in the PeopleSoft system, based on their appointment letter will be used.
  • Teaching faculty and graduate teaching assistants with no FTE will be assigned hours based on an equivalency of 3.33 hours for each credit hour assigned, plus one additional hour per week for department business.

How are hours worked calculated for people with a combination of teaching and another type of activity?
When a variable hour employee has more than one type of work or more than one assignment, separate job records are maintained for each concurrent job. This allows for each job to be tracked separately using the applicable approach (see above). The hours will be combined to determine if the individual is eligible to be offered health insurance coverage under ACA.

How do breaks in service impact the measurement period?
The regulations state that breaks in service greater than 26 weeks require employees to begin a new measurement period (individual). If the break in service is not expected to last longer than 26 weeks, the individual will be placed on leave, as appropriate. When an employee has a break in service of less than 26 weeks, they will be placed back into the same measurement/coverage period that they were in at the time of their break began. Any breaks in which there are no hours worked in a four week period are excluded from the calculation. If there are any hours worked during a summer month, then that month will be included in the calculation.

Questions? e-Mail for more information.


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Last modified November 06 2015 09:37 AM