Unintended Consequences of ACA

The rush to implement the Affordable Care Act, which is generating billions for insurers, hospitals and technology vendors, also looks like a boon for staffing companies, whose share prices have soared. But some suggest that exceptions for temporary employees could leave holes in the health law’s expanded coverage…

[I]n regulations issued last year the IRS left an opening for employers of “variable-hour” labor such as temp agencies. If it’s not clear upon hiring that an employee will consistently work more than 30 hours weekly, companies get up to 12 months to determine whether she is full time and qualifies for health benefits — even if she does end up working full time. Few temps last 12 months.

“The overwhelming majority of temporary help workers, even if they were working full-time on a weekly basis for a number of months, wouldn’t be covered because of that 12-month look-back period,” said the Upjohn Institute’s Houseman. The rules, she added, “were written in a very favorable way for the temporary help industry.”

Source: Kaiser Health News.

Comments (11)

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  1. Blake Bartoli says:

    Sounds complicated.

  2. Kari Bolva says:

    Very valid statement! –> “You regulate something and people will always try to find a way around the regulation.” Including policy makers themselves! See a previous post on this http://healthblog.ncpathinktank.org/obama-forced-into-acas-exchanges-and-other-links/

  3. Peterson says:

    A disaster of epic proportions!

  4. Henry GrosJean says:

    What a great loophole!!

  5. Jordan says:

    Isn’t lobbying fun?
    I wonder which legislator has financial interests in temp agencies..

  6. Jack says:

    Are they intentionally increasing attrition rates for temp agencies?

  7. Bernard Wolsh says:

    Unintended? I would say all these consequences were very much thought through, authorities just don’t care what kind of impact their legislation has on us. Sad reality.

  8. Michael says:

    This is what I would call premeditated harm to Americans. They know exactly what they are doing right? At least that’s what they say.

  9. Belinda says:

    “There are good arguments for exempting new, variable-hour workers from health-coverage obligations, she said: tracking who worked 30 hours during which weeks for health-plan eligibility would cause confusion for employers and insurers alike.” It certainly could cause some sort of confusion to everyone involved. However, is this enough reason to keep these employees from receiving coverage? It shouldn’t be. That’s the job of the asministrator to keep track of this information so that employees receive the coverage they deserve for the hours they work. It shouldn’t be a matter of it being confusing aka tedious.

  10. Ceasar Rahns says:

    So basically this means that more people would be willing to work part-time instead of full-time?

  11. Kathleen says:

    I think you’ve missed the mark this time, John. The temp agencies will still have to offer a benefits plan that is affordable, with a 90-day or less waiting period. But they will be allowed, like every other employer, to set their measurement period up to 12 months for purposes of determining who is a full-time or permanent employee. Many employers will be doing this to keep their benefit programs under control.

    We work with several temp agencies, and most of their “non-performers” are gone within the first month, so all it does is reduce the amount of paperwork they have to do, by not enrolling and dis-enrolling people who are just moving on through the revolving door. Or the workers sign up for available benefits, then drop them a week later when they get their first paycheck and see how little is left after the premiums are deducted. That’s not going to change!