Part Time Workers Among the Millions Searching for Health Insurance in the New Exchanges

by Vanessa Jones on Oct 7 2013 10:27 AM

 Part Time Workers Among the Millions Searching for Health Insurance in the New Exchanges
Many companies like Trader Joe’s and Home Depot have dropped coverage for part time workers who are now flocking to the Federal Exchanges. Many corporate sponsored health insurance plans for part time workers don’t provide very good coverage say Larry Levitt who is the senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation – an expert on the new health marketplaces.
"It's very likely that these part-time workers will get a better deal in the new marketplaces," Levitt says. Trader Joe's, for example, will offer cash to part-timers starting in January to help pay for their insurance, and many of the workers will be eligible for tax credits to help them pay their premiums. "So they're likely to be much better off," Levitt says.

Though 70% of the part time workers will be better off at the exchange there are the 30% who were not happy as they would pay more through the Health care exchange. A student and mother of two found that she would be paying almost double on the government Health care exchange. She was paying $200 at a Trader Joe’s in Austin as against the $350 she would have to now pay with lower benefits.

.According to the site her family is not eligible for subsidies, she says "As a resident of Texas, either way I look at it, I'm getting a reduction in benefits and an increase in price by moving to the government exchange," Jane says. This is due to the fact that Texas has not expanded its Medicaid program.

"In states that don't expand Medicaid," Levitt says, "you end up with this 'gap group' — people who are not poor enough or don't have the right family circumstances to qualify for Medicaid but, ironically, don't make enough to qualify for tax credits."

So, says Levitt, whether you're going to be better off in the government marketplaces can have a lot to do with what state you live in. Still he says, in general, the exchanges will benefit part-time workers.

Employers are not required to provide coverage for these workers, Levitt says, "and they are likely better off getting subsidized coverage in the marketplace." The government health exchange will definitely benefit with young people enrolling for health insurance.


Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)

John Ydstie, October 2013