Skip to main content

Health Reform and Part-time Workers

By May 24, 2013Commentary

One of the major unintended, though completely predictable, consequences of the health reform law is employers moving workers to part-time status to avoid either providing insurance or paying a penalty for them.  An Employee Benefit Research Institute report explores the trend.     (EBRI Report)    The law requires that if you have 50 or more full-time workers you have to provide health coverage or pay a penalty.  So do you think a lot of small employers are either making sure they don’t get over that number or reducing full-time employees until they are under that magic number?   Based on the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, the report finds that part-time workers are increasing and their health coverage is getting worse.  Part-time workers weren’t getting much coverage anyway, in 2012 only 28% of employers with 3 to 199 employees provided health insurance to part-timers.  In 2011, the likelihood that a person had coverage based on their own job was 60% for full-time workers but only 16% for part-time ones and the trend has been rapidly downward for part-timers.  They also have had a falling likelihood of having coverage as a dependent.  The percent of workers employed part-time had risen to 22.2% in 2011, and based on monthly employment numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor, has likely climbed significantly since then.  The coupling of more part-time workers with less availability of coverage, and when coverage is available to part-timers it likely offers relatively low benefits and high costs.  One consequence is that more people may be looking for subsidized individual coverage or Medicaid, which will raise the public dollars flowing out under this wonderful new health “reform”.

Leave a comment