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ACE, Higher Education Groups Endorse Bills to Exempt Student Workers from Affordable Care Act

August 14, 2014

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​ACE and a group of seven higher education associations are endorsing two bills that would exempt full-time students from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate, which requires large employers—including colleges and universities—to offer health insurance plans to employees working 30 hours a week or more.

Under the ACA, Federal Work-Study students who work 30 or more hours a week are not subject to the employer mandate, but other students employed by higher education institutions who work 30 or more hours must be offered employer-sponsored health care plans.

The Student Worker Exemption Act of 2014 (H.R. 5262) and the Student Job Protection Act of 2014 (H.R. 5298) would help institutions maintain the work hours of student employees, many of whom are financially needy, according to the higher education groups.

In letters to the bills’ sponsors​, the associations make the case that including these students in the employer mandate would not likely increase the number of insured, noting that student employees “are not typically covered under an institution’s employee health insurance plan, so applying the employer mandate in this circumstance is unnecessary.”

Students receive health insurance coverage in a variety ways, including through their families’ health insurance coverage up to age 26 and under ACA-regulated student health insurance coverage, which schools may subsidize through their financial aid program or provide at no cost as part of a graduate school award package.

Students also will be able to purchase coverage through individual market exchanges, possibly with premium tax subsidies, or in some states through Medicaid, if they are income-eligible. 

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