CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Blaming provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Charleston Area Medical Center is cutting health care and pharmacy benefits to part-time employees, CAMC spokesman Dale Witte said.
Beginning next year, employees who work fewer than 24 hours in a week will lose their health insurance, Witte said. In 2015, employees must work 30 hours a week to be eligible for health benefits, Witte said.
Beginning in 2018, employers will be capped on how much they can pay for employees' health care, Witte said. The hospital will make incremental changes between now and 2018, he said.
For the soonest changes, those that take effect in 2014, around 246 employees will be affected, Witte said.
"The good news is a lot of those employees could increase their hours and be eligible [for coverage]," Witte said. "It depends on the department they work in, if the department has the capacity<t40>...<t$>
"Some are at the maximum level so [employees] might have to move to a different department in order to increase the hours."
If CAMC were to offer health benefits to those who work 20 hours a week, it would disqualify employees from tax benefits in the state's Health Insurance Marketplace, he said.
Beginning in 2018 under the Affordable Care Act, employers will be charged a 40 percent excise tax on "Cadillac plans," which exceed $10,200 for an individual and $27,500 for a family.
"The amount of money CAMC pays toward an employee's health care would be above the cap imposed by the government," Witte wrote in an email. "So CAMC is making incremental changes during the next four years to get it where we need to be when the 'Cadillac tax' takes effect; however, there are other requirements for health care reform that will take effect between now and then that also have cost implications."
The hospital currently has 4,881 employees and 9,669 people, including families who are enrolled in medical coverage, according to Witte.
"That number will change -- new employees will be added and others will be dropped," Witte said.
CAMC plans to keep offering part-time employees other benefits, including health care and dependent day care spending accounts, as well as dental, short and long-term disability, employee and dependent life insurance and 401(k)s, he said.
St. Francis and Thomas Memorial Hospitals offer health insurance to part-time employees and will continue to do so, said Paige Johnson, a spokeswoman for the hospitals.Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.