December 2020 Advocate: Comparing part-time faculty health coverage in Bay 10 college districts


SMCCD’s health care coverage for part-time faculty among lowest in the Bay 10

by Annie Corbett, Cañada College & Skyline College, Psychology

Ten years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, access to affordable health care is still elusive to many individuals and families, including our own part-time faculty in the San Mateo Community College District (SMCCD). Health insurance can be prohibitively costly, especially for employees who work part-time and many simply cannot afford health care.

While the AFT is still in the midst of negotiating a new contract, one of the issues still unresolved for adjunct faculty (in addition to part-time pay parity) is fair compensation for health insurance or access to the district’s health benefits. Currently, a part-time faculty member who teaches a minimum of six units per semester (40% of full-time), can request a reimbursement of up to $1505.00 paid in monthly premiums at the end of each semester, for a total of $3010.00 per calendar year. Put another way, it’s a reimbursement of $250.83 per month. SMCCD does not currently offer any medical plans for part-time faculty.


For purposes of this article, we will draw a comparison between SMCCD’s medical benefits compensation and other local community college districts, and will use as an example, a single, part-time faculty member (age 43) enrolling in a Kaiser Health Plan Platinum 90 HMO (the plan SMCCD uses for full-time employees). SMCCD contributes 100% for a single full-time employee into the SMCCD 2021 Kaiser Health Care Plan at a cost to SMCCD of $825.00 per month ($9900/year). The part-time faculty member would have to pay Kaiser $713.97 per month ($8567.64/year) for a similar plan. For this example, the part-time faculty member would qualify for a reimbursement of $3010/year, so the total out-of-pocket is $5557.64/year.
Annual cost for equitable medical plan for SMCCD PT faculty = $8567.64 – $3010 = $5557.64


CCSF offers health coverage to all part-time faculty who teach 50% or more of a full-time load and faculty are eligible at the beginning of their third semester employed. CCSF pays 100% of the employee’s plan premium for Kaiser HMO.
Annual cost for equitable medical plan for CCSF PT faculty = $0

Marin (MCCD) PT vs. SMCCD PT

Marin Community College District contributes up to $1900 per month towards a MCCD-sponsored medical plan for eligible part-time faculty. Eligible part-time faculty are faculty who taught a minimum of 12 credit units in an academic year (excluding summer).
Annual cost for equitable medical plan for Marin PT faculty = $0

Foothill-De Anza (FDACCD) PT vs. SMCCD PT

Foothill-De Anza Community College District part-time faculty are eligible to enroll in district sponsored medical plans as long as they have an annual load factor of .4 (40%). Faculty are responsible for payment of the difference in load factor they are teaching. For example, if a part-time faculty is teaching a load of .60 (60%), the district will be responsible for 60% of the premium payment. If a part-time faculty is teaching a load of .4 (40%), the district will be responsible for 40% of the premium payment. For the example of this article, the part-time faculty would pay $307.40 per month ($3688.80) for the Kaiser HMO plan offered by the district.
Annual cost for equitable health plan for F-DA PT faculty = $3688

West Valley-Mission (WVMCCD) PT vs. SMCCD PT

WVMCCD part-time faculty are reimbursed for medical premiums up to $2000 per semester as long as the faculty has an instructional load of at least 40% for three consecutive fall and spring semesters. If a faculty drops to a 20% load in a subsequent semester, the faculty shall continue to qualify that semester. However, if the faculty still has a 20% load in the next semester, the faculty will lose the benefit. This is an important note – as SMCCD will not reimburse a faculty member at any time whose teaching load drops to 20%.
Annual cost for equitable medical plan for WVMCCD PT faculty = $8567.64 – $4000 = $4567

San Jose-Evergreen (SJECCD) PT vs. SMCCD PT

SJECCD offers medical plan coverage to part-time faculty at a reduced rate (50%), as long as the faculty carries a 40% cumulative equivalent load of a full-time faculty assignment. The part-time faculty pays $420/month or $5040 annually for the benefit.
Annual cost for equitable medical plan for San Jose/Evergreen PT faculty = $5040

Chabot-Las Positas PT vs. SMCCD PT

Chabot-Las Positas, in the East Bay, offers two Kaiser HMO plans to all part-time faculty who teach a minimum of 40% of an annual full-time load in the prior academic year. For the offered Kaiser HMO plan, an adjunct faculty could expect to pay $3253.88 annually with the district.
Annual cost for equitable medical plan for CLPCCD PT faculty = $3254

Peralta (PCCD) PT vs. SMCCD PT

The Peralta district contributes one half of the monthly premium cost for the Kaiser Plan for eligible part-time faculty members. Eligible part-time faculty are those whose teaching assignment equals or exceeds 40% of a full-time teaching assignment. The Kaiser premium is $764.32/month, so a PT instructor pays $382.16/month or $4585.92/year.
Annual Peralta PT faculty equitable medical plan cost = $4586

Contra Costa (CCCCD) PT vs. SMCCD PT

The Contra Costa CCD contributes toward the premium cost of the health plan based on the member’s average load for the previous academic year (fall and spring) in three tiers as follows: 30% load and greater – District pays 40% of the premium cost; 40% load and greater – District pays 50% of the premium cost; 60% load and greater – District pays 75% of the premium cost. A part-time instructor at 60% load pays or $2305.92/year for Kaiser.
Annual cost for equitable medical plan for Contra Costa PT Faculty = $2306

Ohlone (OCCD) PT vs. SMCCD PT

The Ohlone district has not agreed to contribute anything towards their part-time faculty members’ health benefits. The district will only allow an adjunct faculty member to buy into the group medical insurance plans provided to full-time faculty at the part-timer’s expense. So Ohlone part-time faculty must pay their full medical premiums with no reimbursement from the district. That makes Ohlone the only Bay-10 district that pays less towards their part-time faculty health benefits than San Mateo in PT health benefits.Annual
Ohlone PT Faculty equitable medical plan cost = $8568

It is abundantly clear that SMCCD lags, in some cases, far behind our neighboring community college counterparts, in either offering medical insurance for part-time faculty or reimbursing for premium costs. Our district provides less health coverage for part-time faculty than all but one other Bay 10 district and is one of only three of the Bay 10 districts that does not provide a district-supported health insurance plan to their part-timers. Referring to the “Comparison of Part-Time Faculty Compensation for SMCCCD” on page 1, part-time instructors working at all of our neighboring community college districts are compensated at higher salaries and more equitably for equal work, and, as we’ve shown above, they are also valued highly enough to get offered medical benefits, or minimally, a higher per semester amount of premium reimbursement. SMCCD continues to show that equitable pay (compensation and benefits) for equal work, is simply not a priority – as long as you are one of the approximately 550 part-time faculty members employed by the district.

Note: This article did not take into consideration any Covered California Subsidy benefits, as those factors are difficult to calculate for the purposes of comparing medical coverage offered by different districts.