Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fwd: qotd: Employers gradually bailing out on employee coverage

Quote-of-the-day mailing list

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: qotd: Employers gradually bailing out on employee coverage
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2012 09:23:40 -0800
From: Don McCanne <don@mccanne.org>
To: Quote-of-the-Day <quote-of-the-day@mccanne.org>

The Wall Street Journal
November 4, 2012
Health-Care Law Spurs a Shift to Part-Time Workers
By Julie Jargon, Louise Radnofsky and Alexandra Berzon

Some low-wage employers are moving toward hiring part-time workers
instead of full-time ones to mitigate the health-care overhaul's
requirement that large companies provide health insurance for full-time
workers or pay a fee.

Several restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or are preparing
to limit schedules of hourly workers to below 30 hours a week. That is
the threshold at which large employers in 2014 would have to offer
workers a minimum level of insurance or pay a penalty starting at $2,000
for each worker.

If a company offers health insurance but the coverage is deemed sparse
or unaffordable, the company must pay $3,000 for every worker who gets a
federal tax subsidy to purchase coverage as an individual.

Pillar Hotels & Resorts this summer began to focus more on hiring
part-time workers among its 5,500 employees. The company has 210
franchise hotels, under the Sheraton, Fairfield Inns, Hampton Inns and
Holiday Inns brands.

CKE Restaurants Inc., parent of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's burger
chains, began two months ago to hire part-time workers to replace
full-time employees who left.

Home retailer Anna's Linens Inc. is considering cutting hours for some
full-time employees to avoid the insurance mandate if the health-care
law isn't repealed.

Darden Restaurants Inc. was among the first companies to say it was
changing hiring in response to the health-care law. The Orlando, Fla.,
parent of Red Lobster and Olive Garden in February began testing hiring
part-time workers in four markets to replace some full-time employees
who had left, a spokesman said.



The Commonwealth Fund
November 2012
Jobs Without Benefits: The Health Insurance Crisis Faced by Small
Businesses and Their Workers
By Ruth Robertson, Kristof Stremikis, Sara R. Collins, Michelle M. Doty,
and Karen Davis

The share of U.S. workers in small firms who were offered, eligible for,
and covered by health insurance through their jobs has declined over the
past decade. Less than half of workers in companies with fewer than 50
employees were both offered and eligible for health insurance through
their jobs in 2010, down from 58 percent in 2003.



Kaiser Health News
November 5, 2012
Employers Expected To Keep Some Of Health Law's Popular Provisions, Even
If Obama Loses
By Julie Appleby

No matter who wins the presidential election...

Employers will continue looking for ways to cap expenses, moving toward
higher deductible policies, or placing limits on how much they pay
toward their workers' premiums -- both trends that predate the federal
health law, analysts say.


Comment: As we have stated several times before, the Affordable Care
Act (ACA) was designed to encourage the perpetuation of
employer-sponsored health plans which currently provide the majority of
the population with coverage. Current trends do not look favorable. More
than half of workers in small companies do not even receive health care
coverage, and some larger employers are beginning to shift to part-time
employment in order to escape the insurance requirements of ACA. Those
that continue coverage are shifting more costs to employees through
higher deductibles and through a shift to defined contribution programs.

A health care financing system should provide full coverage for everyone
automatically. Obviously, ACA does not do that. The CBO predicts that 30
million will remain without coverage, but based on the fact that
employers are beginning to bail out, it is likely that the numbers of
uninsured will be even greater. We have to do something different.

How could we achieve automatic enrollment for everyone? Simple. Just as
with Medicare Part A, enroll every qualified individual automatically.
In a properly designed single payer system, absolutely everyone would be
qualified, and therefore everyone would be enrolled.

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