December 21, 2012
From Bloomberg BNA, Benefits Practice Resource Center

by Florence Olsen

Employers in low-wage industries that rely on variable-hour and seasonal workers may find ways to avoid paying penalties and offering health insurance benefits under the Affordable Care Act, practitioners familiar with those industries told BNA. 

Congressional Intentions

Congress intended the health care law to help two types of workers obtain essential, affordable health benefits: those who are uninsured because their employers do not offer health benefits and those whose employers offer health benefits that are un-affordable under ACA's rules. Some practitioners are pessimistic about whether the law can change economic factors that cause many variable-hour, low-wage, and seasonal workers to seek medical care from hospital emergency physicians instead of primary care doctors.

"I don't see how that's going to change, except for employees who qualify for Medicaid," attorney Henry Talavera, a shareholder at Polsinelli Shughart in Dallas, told BNA Dec. 19. "There will likely be substantial numbers of low-wage employees who are not and will not be Medicaid-eligible, particularly in states which do not create state exchanges, and that's something the government will need to address," he said.

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Reproduced with permission from:

Pension & Benefits Daily, 39 BPR 2297 (Dec. 19, 2012).
Copyright 2012 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)