Back in July, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed called ObamaCare’s Definition of a Full-Time Job Needs Revising. The piece, which was reported on by NewsMax, says that there is a bipartisan effort by Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly and Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who believe that modifying “the definition of a full-time worker by increasing the weekly minimum hours from 30 to 40 will help keep employers from slashing hours to avoid providing coverage.”
This idea is gaining some steam, and now the National Association of Health Underwriters is weighing in on the movement. In it’s January 31, 2014 Washington Update, NAHU says the following:
The 30-hour full-time employee issue is gaining traction on Capitol Hill. Earlier this week, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the challenges the 30-hour rule creates for employers and how it will hurt the nation’s employees in 2015. Just today, the House Ways and Means Committee announced that it will be marking up a House bill that seeks to reinstate the definition of a full-time employee to one who works 40 hours a week. NAHU will be at the mark up, in the meantime contact your member of Congress about this issue today!
The reason this bill makes sense is because employers wouldn’t need to make the difficult decision between offering and not offering coverage, and they wouldn’t need to slash workers’ hours to avoid paying big penalties under the employer shared responsibility requirement, usually referred to as the employer mandate. Restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and other companies that have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees who work between 30 and 40 hours a week would not need to provide them with health insurance coverage under the proposed definition of full-time employee, and there would be no penalties for not offering them coverage.
More importantly for agents who have a private exchange site through Health Partners America, these employees would still qualify for a premium tax credit in the individual market if they’re not offered coverage at work. It’s a lot easier for an agent to convince an employer to let him or her help the company’s part-time employees than it is to convince the employer that dropping the group health coverage altogether is in the employees’ best interest.
If you are supportive of this bill, you may want to click the NAHU link above and let your elected officials know how you feel.