Obamacare | The Government's Takeover of Health Care
Universal Studios to Drop Health Insurance for Part-Time Workers
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:09
Written by Darrell Lect
The wrath of Obamacare continues to hit all segments of business. From restaurants in the entertainment industry, Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida is one of the latest companies to stop offering healthcare insurance to part-time employees because of the massive costs of Obamacare. This will take place in 2014 when Obamacare goes into full implementation. The far-reaching government controls in Obamacare caused Universal Studios to make this move, primarily due to the caps their plans had.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
Universal Orlando plans to stop offering medical insurance to part-time employees beginning next year, a move the resort says has been forced by the federal government's health-care overhaul.
The giant theme-park resort, which generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue, began informing employees this month that it will offer health-insurance to part-timers "only until December 31, 2013."
The reason: Universal currently offers part-time workers a limited insurance plan that has low premiums but also caps the payout of benefits. For instance, Universal's plan costs about $18 a week for employee-only coverage but covers only a maximum of $5,000 a year toward hospital stays. There are similar caps for other services.
Those types of insurance plans — sometimes referred to as "mini-med" plans — will no longer be permitted under the federal Affordable Care Act. Beginning in 2014, the law will prohibit insurance plans that impose annual monetary limits on essential medical care such, as hospitalization, or on overall spending.
Universal is one of the largest employers in Central Florida, with approximately 17,000 employees. It has thousands of part-time workers, though Universal said only about 500 of them are enrolled in the current insurance plan, as many part-timers are covered by a parent's or spouse's insurance.
"We care about our team members and we want them to have best, most-affordable medical benefits we can provide," Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said Tuesday. "This particular issue affects about 3 percent of our 17,000 team members, and we're going to continue to work toward a solution."
Universal said it would not save any money by dropping the part-time insurance plans. The resort said it currently does not spend anything itself on plan — it only negotiates a group rate through Florida Hospital and then helps facilitate employee enrollment.
Critics of mini-med insurance plans say they ultimately provide little protection for workers, with meager payout limits that are nowhere near enough to cover medical emergencies. Supporters argue they are a realistic option for low-paid, limited-hour workers who can't afford better plans.
Other large employers are grappling with the same issue as Universal.
A spokesman for Orlando-based Darden Restaurants said Tuesday its limited-coverage plans will "go away after this year," as well.
"We'd like to have the option to continue offering them, since they are popular with our part-time employees, but the ACA doesn't offer that type of flexibility," spokesman Rich Jeffers said. "There is still a lot we don't know about the new health-care regulations for 2014, but we are committed to helping all of our employees navigate through the new environment as we learn more."
Walt Disney World has about 1,400 part-time employees enrolled in limited plans. A spokeswoman for the resort would say only that Disney is "still assessing the health-care reform act and how it impacts our business."
What this does is put these part-time employees on the government's health care plan, which was the liberal plan all along. Instead of offering the highly unpopular public option, liberals made the law so hard to comply with that employers would be forced to drop coverage, forcing employees onto the federal plan. It's centralized control.
Darrell Lect is a contributing editor for Habledash.