There is no one-size-fits-all solution for how chapters negotiate health insurance for part-time faculty with their community college districts. Southwestern College Education Association (SCEA) in San Diego County has negotiated an extension of its current health insurance for part-time faculty beginning in the fall of 2023. Immediately upon receiving a 40% assignment at Southwestern College, or as a multi-district party – full-time faculty, unit members, and their dependents are eligible to select plans that are paid 90-100% by the district. If their load falls below 40%, they can maintain their current plan for one semester, with the district paying 67% of the premium.
As chapters submit their bargaining demands, one of the main challenges is that chapters and districts are encountering resistance from insurance brokers and insurance companies. The only way around this is to negotiate the actual health plans. The Riverside Community College District Faculty Association (RCCDFA) did this 20 years ago and made broker contracts negotiable. The RCCDFA actually replaced the broker and then demanded better negotiations with the insurance companies. As part of this process, the brokers had to meet with the Health Benefits Committee which included representatives from the RCCDFA, who then made a recommendation to the Board of Directors and the Local Branch Trustees.
Health insurers also had to go through the same process, and the RCCDFA demanded detailed statistics and analysis for each of the health plans, including utilization and even pharmaceutical utilization. The result is that the RCCDFA has been able to make informed decisions, reduce costs, improve services and ensure that part-time and full-time faculty – and therefore administrators and personal – receive the best benefits available with two HMOs and a PPO. . The Collective Agreement provides the RCCDFA President or designate direct unfettered access to their Third Party Administrator, ensuring that the District cannot make unilateral changes. When issues have arisen, RCCDFA leadership has been quick to address these issues with the broker and insurance companies and are quick to raise major issues at trustee meetings to air their concerns and frustrations.
“It is possible to triumph; chapters must remain committed to their approach and demand shared governance participation throughout the process,” said CCA Secretary John Sullivan, former board member of the Riverside Community College District Faculty Association and the San Bernardino Community College District Teachers Association.
“My recommendation to any Chapters grappling with this is to work with your primary CTA contact staff to review your options and move forward, knowing that you are not alone in the process.”
–ACC Secretary John Sullivan