Health Insurance for Adjuncts

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The Professional Staff Congress and The City University of New York have reached a landmark agreement with the City of New York on inclusion of eligible CUNY adjuncts in the New York City Health Benefits Program. The agreement provides regularized health insurance for an important part of the CUNY teaching workforce and contributes to stabilizing the finances of the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund.

Extending health insurance to this significant group of part-time employees at CUNY has required the vision and persistence of many partners, said CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken and PSC/CUNY President Barbara Bowen. “We thank Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, legislative leaders, budget and labor relations offices and the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund for their critical roles in making this agreement possible,” they said.

Adjunct health insurance has been provided by the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund for several decades, through funds negotiated in collective bargaining. As the number of adjuncts grew and the costs of health care skyrocketed, however, the burden on the Welfare Fund escalated to an untenable level, necessitating stop-gap measures to maintain the Fund’s solvency.

The PSC, including the affected adjuncts, vigorously advocated for equitable adjunct health insurance. The University responded, and successfully sought and obtained additional funding from New York State to provide support for adjunct health insurance. Shortly thereafter, the University and the PSC entered into negotiations regarding the benefit and began working with the City of New York to allow coverage for eligible adjuncts to be transferred from the Welfare Fund to the City Health Benefits Program. During the negotiations, the Welfare Fund Trustees voted to extend the adjunct health insurance coverage through September 30, 2014.

“This accomplishment assures equitable access to health insurance, which will profoundly affect the lives of dedicated adjuncts, many of whom have been teaching core courses for decades. Qualified CUNY adjuncts will now be able to receive their basic health insurance through the City Health Benefits Program, on an equitable basis with full-time CUNY employees,” Bowen and Milliken said.

Qualified adjuncts may enroll in the City Health Benefits Program effective October 1, 2014; the University has established a deadline of September 19 for enrollment through college human resources offices. The University will provide additional funding to the Welfare Fund to enable it to continue to provide coverage until October 1.