Universal Studios resort to cancel health insurance for part-time employees

posted at 8:41 am on February 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Just another sign of progress for the underemployed!  Thanks to the beneficence of ObamaCare, thousands of part-time workers in Florida will become free … free of their employer-provided health care, that is. Universal Studios Orlando had offered health insurance to part-time employees until this year, but will no longer do so thanks to the added costs and mandates of the ACA:

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.”

And why will those plans be cancelled?  Because they don’t meet the ObamaCare/IRS standard, even though are certainly better than nothing at all:

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.

That’s about $936 a year in premiums, a little steep for a mini-med program but not a bad backstop otherwise, depending on the caps and coverage for “other services.”  Employees with other coverage through family members might have liked it for secondary or emergency support, and those with no other coverage at all would have had at least some coverage for unpleasant surprises.  Anyone who thought the plan didn’t work at that price could have gone elsewhere.

Now, they’ll have to buy full comprehensive coverage in the ObamaCare “exchanges,” and now we’ll have to pay a lot more than $936 a year to each of them in federal subsidies for those purchases.  It’s going to get more expensive for everyone, including those part-time workers who may have been happy enough with the mini-med coverage.


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