UVA's New Health Care Plan to Affect Spousal Coverage

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The University of Virginia is rolling out a new healthcare plan for its employees, and it has some of them upset. They're angry because the new rules can force covered spouses out of the plan - like it or not.

Wednesday, the university and the business community are responding to the change that will affect thousands of families. UVA is rolling out a series of sweeping changes to its employee health insurance plan - which covers more than 13,600 university workers.

"The University estimates the effects of the Affordable Care Act for this coming year alone are going to add $7 million to the cost of us implementing and operating our health plan," said UVA spokesperson McGregor McCance.

A major change starts January 1. The university will drop employee spouses whose own employers offer health care coverage.

"This change is intended to play a role in containing these costs over time while protecting the quality and availability of the benefits to the most number of people," said McCance.   

Businesses across central Virginia are bracing for the insurance impact.

"Businesses are going to have to make independent decisions about - with the new landscape - how are you going to cover or do you want to cover your employees?" said Timothy Hulbert, Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce president.

The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce says UVA's change will force an unknown number of employers to make adjustments.

"There's going to be some number of people who are going to have to get health care coverage in another fashion other than relying on UVA to basically subsidize that business and those employees in that business," said Hulbert.

UVA says the change is necessary to support its health care plan for the long-term.

"When we make a change like this, we understand there are going to be effects both to the employees affected and to the region's economy," said McCance.

Children of employees will stay covered by the university plan.

UVA employees will need to fill out paperwork during October's open enrollment or even eligible spouses will automatically lose coverage January 1.

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