At the end of the spring semester, NYU emailed many students, including graduate employees, promising rebates in varying amounts for health care premiums paid for academic year 2012-2013. However, many students who have now gotten checks received far less than what they were originally promised from the university.
The rebates themselves are a result of the Affordable Care Act which restricts the amount an insurance carrier can spend on non-benefit items (e.g., administrative costs) and mandates rebates if the limits are exceeded. The ACA requires the carrier to refund plan participants who had to pay premiums but allows employers to keep the rebate if the employer paid the cost of the premiums.
We’ve asked NYU for an explanation of the discrepancies between promised amounts and actual checks. Their response to GSOC was that promises of a rebate were mistakenly made to students (e.g., MacCracken doctoral candidates) who did not actually pay the premiums on their health care. This explanation obviously does not excuse a gross miscommunication on the Administration’s part nor does it clarify why, in some cases, people did receive checks in much smaller, unexplained amounts.
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Furthermore, many NYU-Poly graduate employees – who currently pay the full cost of their health care premiums – were excited to think that they might receive rebates when they were included in the university’s mass email. Their disappointment in not being eligible (because they still receive a worse health care plan than other NYU grad employees) underscores the fact that the administration continues to neglect these hard-working students, who, in spite of providing essential services as employees of their university, still pay for their health care on wages as low as $10 per hour.
The university has still not agreed to cover premium costs for all graduate employees. The fact that these health care rebates are being given out for the academic year in which our benefits declined considerably, and in which the cost of family health care premiums skyrocketed, clearly indicates that NYU can afford to do better on health care.