Congress should amend the health care reform law to make more employers liable for a big financial penalty if they do not offer coverage to their part-time employees, the AFL-CIO says.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, employers with at least 50 full-time employees — defined as employees working at least 30 hours a week — are liable for a $2,000 per employee penalty if they do not offer qualified coverage and one employee obtains a federal premium subsidy to purchase coverage in a public insurance exchange. That employer mandate takes effect in 2015.
But a resolution adopted Wednesday by AFL-CIO delegates attending the organized labor convention in Los Angeles says the full $2,000 penalty should apply to employers that do not offer coverage to employees working as little as average of 20 hours a week, with a pro-rated penalty for employees working less than 20 hours.
In its resolution urging a lowering of the 30-hour requirement, the AFL-CIO said the 30-hour standard “falls short of what is needed to prevent irresponsible behavior. Employers are preparing to avoid penalties by cutting workers' hours and pay, thereby creating a new underclass of less-than-30-hour workers.”
Another AFL-CIO-adopted resolution calls for exempting health care plans covering unionized employees from a health care reform law provision that will impose, starting in 2014, a $63 per health care plan participant fee.
Imposing the fee will drive up costs and will result in pressure to shift those costs to those workers, “cut wages, and to agree to unacceptable high-deductible plans,” the resolution said.
Revenues generated by the Transitional Reinsurance Program fee are to be used to help offset costs incurred by insurers covering high-cost individuals purchasing coverage in public insurance exchanges.