Study: Most Employers To Continue Coverage Under Health Reform
Most employers will continue to offer health coverage to their workers after the federal health reform law is fully implemented, according to a study by the Urban Institute, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Many opponents of the overhaul have argued that employers would choose to pay penalties under the overhaul for failing to provide coverage to their workers, because the fines would be less costly than the price of insurance. However, the study found that employers that drop coverage will risk losing highly skilled workers who would prefer to keep employer-sponsored plans rather than getting coverage through state health insurance exchanges.
The study found that companies with large numbers of low-wage workers who are at or below 250% of the federal poverty level likely will stop providing employer-sponsored coverage (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 10/21).
Few Part-Time Workers Have Employer-Sponsored Coverage, Study Finds
In related news, a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that about 16% of employers provide health insurance coverage for part-time workers, the Washington Post reports. The survey found that about 42% of large employers offer part-time workers coverage.
The federal health reform law is unlikely to change the number of part-time workers with employer-sponsored coverage, according to the Post.
Part-time employees -- defined by the law as those who work fewer than 30 hours weekly -- will have access to subsidized coverage through the insurance exchanges created by the overhaul. However, the reform law does not provide much incentive for employers to cover part-time workers and does not penalize those that do not offer such coverage (Kliff, Washington Post, 10/22).
More Employees Have Access to Employment-Based Coverage, Report Finds
Also in related news, a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that more workers have access to employer-sponsored coverage than in previous years, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
According to the report, about 23% of workers said they were not offered employer-sponsored coverage in April 2010, compared with 40% in 2003.
Despite the increased access, the rate of covered workers has declined in recent years. About 56% of employees had coverage in April 2010, down from 56.6% in December 2009, and well below levels in the 1990s, when coverage rates were above 60%, according to the report.
The report found that 89% of employees without coverage said costs were prohibitively expensive (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 10/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.