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Oregon-Northwest

Bill would help part-time professors with health care

By Eric Tegethoff, Oregon News Service

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Part-time college professors are struggling to afford health care. A bill in the Oregon Legislature would change that.

Adjunct faculty at Oregon colleges and universities may not be eligible for health insurance, even if they teach a full load by working at multiple institutions. Sarah Chivers says she juggles teaching at three colleges and universities every quarter.

In her 16 years, Chivers says she's never been offered health coverage, and rising insurance costs are making it difficult for her across the board.

"For me, the biggest challenge is making rent and making sure I'll be able to cover my health care," says Chivers. "There's ways to find subsidies and support around food insecurity. I have a lot of community around me that helps with child-care costs. Transportation is a challenge sometimes, although I'm pretty fortunate."

Chivers says some colleges limit the number of hours in her course loads so they don't have to offer benefits.

Under House Bill 4146, qualifying faculty would pay 10% of their insurance premiums and the state would pay the rest. The Legislative Fiscal Office estimates this would cost about $35 million between 2021 to 2023.

Maria Sorrentino has taught coding as part-time faculty at Clackamas Community College since 2001. Three years ago, she found out she was eligible for health insurance, but had it taken away last year.

Unable to afford coverage, Sorrentino is uninsured. She says she's been left out in the cold knows other instructors who feel the same way.

"The profession is losing valuable people because of this incredible inequity in the way teaching staff is treated, especially part-time faculty," says Sorrentino. "We don't even get paid the same amount that full-time faculty get, and yet we do just as much work."

Chivers says health-care costs put a strain not only on her, but her two kids as well.

"Just barely making it from year to year makes it a real challenge to forecast how to save for their college education," says Chivers. "So, this has generational impacts."

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2 Comments

  1. Just a heads up, there are alot of people struggling with the cost of health care, ever since the AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ACT went into effect, and with all of the other TAXES the state of Oregon puts on us on a daily basis, it is only going to get even harder. Someone has to pay for all of this “FREE” ****, and it is not anybody who works for any government agency.

    1. You must be confused. Little lyin donnie promised “much better healthcare and wey less expensive” So obviously you have been duped by the “fake news”. The “reality” is that health care costs have gone “way down” but “the greatest enemy of the American people” the free press won’t admit that little lyin donnie’s “tremendous deals” in healthcare have been a “huge” success!!! LOL!!!

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