Employers' Challenge: Offering 'Affordable' Coverage

The Associated Press reports on the health law's requirement that employers with more than 50 workers provide affordable health coverage or face fines. But what is affordable? And will workers be helped or hindered by the rule?

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Employers With 50 Or More Full-Time Workers Required To Offer 'Affordable' Coverage
Requirements that medium-sized and large employers offer insurance coverage or face fines are one of the most complicated parts of President Barack Obama's health care law. While most of the estimated 160 million Americans with job-based coverage will not see major changes when the law takes full effect next year, the so-called employer mandate will be important to millions of workers, particularly in low-wage industries (6/13).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Affordability Glitch: Low-Wage Workers In Some Big Firms Could Get Left Out In Health Overhaul
It's called the Affordable Care Act, but President Barack Obama's health care law may turn out to be unaffordable for many low-wage workers, including employees at big chain restaurants, retail stores and hotels. That might seem strange since the law requires medium-sized and large employers to offer "affordable" coverage or face fines. But what's reasonable? Because of a wrinkle in the law, companies can meet their legal obligations by offering policies that would be too expensive for many low-wage workers. For the employee, it’s like a mirage — attractive but out of reach (6/13).

State Of Health/KQED: Will Proposed Obamacare Fines Help Or Hurt California Workers?
For many businesses Obamacare is downright intimidating. The requirement to provide coverage to full-time employees or potentially face thousands of dollars in fines is what’s really worrying some large companies. Most employees at large businesses already receive health insurance through their employer. But there are still some exceptions. Barbara Andridge is a sales associate at a Walmart near Sacramento. She’s not sure if she’s eligible for the company’s health insurance program because her hours are all over the map — from eight hours one week up to 36 hours the next (Weiss, 6/13).

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