Shock: Low-wage workers may find they can’t afford coverage under ObamaCare

Posted by: ST on June 14, 2013 at 9:36 am

The Associated Press reports this morning that a “wrinkle” in the soon-to-be-fully implemented ObamaCare law may make employer-based health care coverage for low-wage workers unaffordable:

t’s called the Affordable Care Act, but President 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.

The company can get off the hook, say corporate consultants and policy experts, but the employee could still face a federal requirement to get health insurance.

Many are expected to remain uninsured, possibly risking fines. That’s due to another provision: the law says workers with an offer of “affordable” workplace coverage aren’t entitled to new tax credits for private insurance, which could be a better deal for those on the lower rungs of the middle class.


The law is complicated, but essentially companies with 50 or more full-time workers are required to offer coverage that meets certain basic standards and costs no more than 9.5 percent of an employee’s income. Failure to do so means fines for the employer. (Full-time work is defined as 30 or more hours a week, on average.)

But do the math from the worker’s side: For an employee making $21,000 a year, 9.5 percent of their income could mean premiums as high as $1,995 and the insurance would still be considered affordable.

Even a premium of $1,000 — close to the current average for employee-only coverage — could be unaffordable for someone stretching earnings in the low $20,000’s.

Keep in mind here that many would assume that employers would deliberately offer expensive coverage options in order to meet their obligations under the Unaffordable Healthcare Act, but in reality most wouldn’t – they know offering affordable coverage to workers is a benefit that would keep them competitive in the work marketplace,  helping bring  in new employees while keeping existing ones happy.  Also note that some employers may not have any option other than to offer expensive health insurance plans with the more “economical plans” being affordable but with high deductibles to meet, simply due to the rising cost of health insurance in general.    I’ve talked to many people offline and online who have already seen their health insurance costs rise and deductibles go up as a result of employers preparing for ObamaCare.  For example, pre-ObamaCare, yours truly was on what some would call a “luxury” plan – single coverage paying around $40 a month, including prescriptions and dental.  No deductible for health or dental or prescription. Since ObamaCare, I’m paying the same amount per month but now have  a  high deductible to meet for health and a small one to meet for prescriptions … because that’s what I could afford.   Had I stayed on that “luxury” plan, I’d have been shelling out close to $300 a month. No can do.

Too bad we don’t work for Congress where at least one Democrat Congressman is calling for an “amicus brief” to be filed on behalf of federal workers because their rise in premiums are “unfair”,  or are friends of Obama, where we could be in line for an waiver, however temporary….

Just say NO.

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10 Responses to “Shock: Low-wage workers may find they can’t afford coverage under ObamaCare”


  1. Neo says:

    Yes, Obama is a “Reaver”

  2. Carlos says:

    So, right now we have what, maybe 80 million people without insurance, many because they are young and choose not to have it? And because of the “Affordable” Care Act we’ll have maybe 130 million because they flat out can’t afford it?

    Yeah, that’s working out just like everything else the government does, especially everything a combination of socialists and unionists gets whenever they work in concert.

    And let us not forget the wonderful aid of such organizations as the AARP, either, that screwed their own cash cow so hard many of their members really will be eating cat food for dinner.

  3. Cube says:

    How many of these low-wage workers voted for Obama and Democrats? Do they still think Obama is looking out for them? Anybody dumb enough to vote D this past election deserves what they get.

    Look for O’s approval ratings to drop sharply after the massive cost increases kick in, just like they did when the payroll tax holiday expired.

  4. Lorica says:

    This is my new mantra for everything these days…. “Keep voting democrat, Dumba**”. With all that is going on, it seems to be a perfect fit for when those that voted for these individuals complain about them. – Lorica

  5. Drew the Infidel says:

    It is the fault of all those guys flipping burgers for taking such menial jobs. We have a workforce highly educated at taxpayer expense, Ph. D.s driving trash trucks, etc. Put that college degree to work for you!

  6. I work for a medium-sized company, and while we’re not “low wage” we did get some implied warnings of health care hikes at our last annual meeting. The HR person was circumspect, but the hints were obvious; look for higher premiums next year or so.

    I’m single, so it won’t really affect me that much. It’s the married-with-kids folks who are really going to get hit. Many of them at my company are 20-30 somethings who I know were Obama voters. It’ll be interesting to see how the failure of ObamaCare affects their faith in their messiah….

  7. Mike Giles says:

    I don’t think the businesses will be worried, too much about employee health plans. They’ll get to replace their current work force with millions of immigrant – formerly illegal – workers. Ain’t we got fun! ;)

  8. Carlos says:

    It would be my sincere desire that premiums triple overnight when ObamaCare goes into effect, but the low-info voter would be easily convinced it is the fault of Republicans and the insurance companies.

    One could start a wonderful comic movie about the idiocy and stupidity of the typical Democrap voter, but, unfortunately, it ain’t funny in reality.

  9. Marilyn says:

    Don’t get your undies in a bunch, everyone! Remember, Obama has a plan to raise the national minimum wage to make sure it’s a LIVING wage. He’s got it covered!

    /sarc off

  10. Yourmamatoo says:

    They got what they voted for.
    I feel no sympathy for them.