Last year at this time, public and private sector employers began pushing full time workers down to part time status and avoiding full time hiring. An astounding 77% of hires in the first seven months of 2013 were part time, until the president delayed the mandate. The possibility of the mandate is likely to cause a repeat of last year’s problem.
If it goes into effect, employers with over fifty employees will have to either provide the “essential benefits” and pay fees levied on covered employees by Obamacare and cope with reporting requirements;
Drop coverage and pay a $2,000 penalty per employee, which adds 98 cents an hour to the cost of a worker, instead of $1.79 or more. Dropping is a better deal.
It’s not a bargain, however, for most employees losing coverage. Workers with on- the- job coverage contribute $999 year in pre-tax dollars and have a deductible of $1,135 on average for individual coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. On Obamacare exchanges, all but the lowest earners will pay more (even after subsidies), pay with after-tax dollars, face deductibles of $3,000 to $5,000 for silver and bronze plans, and lose access to many doctors and hospitals.
Finally, add to those losing coverage the 3.1 million workers in low-margin industries who had mini-med plans. Obamacare barred these plans in 2010, but the administration handed out waivers to postpone the fallout. Those waivers expired January 1.
All in all, the toll of those losing coverage in 2014 probably will reach 30 million. And most will find Obamacare an unaffordable and low quality alternative.