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Will Health Care Reform Mean Less Work and Still No Insurance for Part-Time Workers?

Details of ACA that give people hope include the requirement for employers with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance to all full-time employees. However, this leaves out millions of service, retail, hospitality, even government and school employees working part-time. It is common for employers to offer benefits to permanent employees working 32 hours per week or more. ACA has given part-time employees hope by reducing the weekly hours to be considered full time from 32 to 30 hours per week.

But don't celebrate too quickly. It is already being reported that employers are considering measures to make sure that they don't have to offer health insurance to those not currently covered.

The Los Angeles Times reported that local city governments like Long Beach, California, are limiting part-time employees to 27 hours per week to avoid paying for health insurance. The justification is that adding benefits for 1,600 currently uninsured part time employees will cost the city over $2 million a year and that it would devastate the already hurting City budget.

City government employees are not alone in worrying about how they will accomplish the same work in less hours and support their families on less pay while trying to follow the law by getting their own insurance. The news agency, Reuters, reported that major employers like Walmart are cutting back full-time employee hours to avoid the employer mandate. The New York Times reported that other major employers are actually investigating the pros and cons of not complying with the ACA Employer Mandate and paying the $2,000 per year penalty for each employee not receiving health insurance benefits. The penalty is substantial savings over the average $11,429 per year cost per employee to offer health insurance in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.

As employers are attempting to figure out if and how they will comply with ACA, others are attempting to offer some good. Employee groups, schools, veterans and charity groups already offer prescription drug discount cards to help offset the cost of health care as part of their professional fundraising efforts. Employers have discovered that they too can offer uninsured employees some benefit with these cards at virtually no cost while supporting charity groups.

It may not sound like much, but for those without insurance, saving 10% to 70% on needed medications can mean everything. Many part-time workers make too much to qualify for government programs, but still find them making hard decisions like whether to pay the electric bill or for asthma medication this paycheck. With reduced hours, these choices are going to continue to get more difficult.

To find out more about how to start a Prescription Drug Discount Card Program for your organization or to offer the cards to your employees while supporting a charity group, today.

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