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Low-Income Workers Saying "No" to Health Insurance

Low income worker

This year marked the enforcement of the employee mandate, through the Affordable Care Act, to offer their employees health insurance or pay a fine. It affects small businesses who have the equivalent of 50 full-time employees. Many employers worried about how they were going to pay for health insurance for their employees, but to the surprise of many, low-income workers are saying NO to health insurance. Why?

Why low-income workers are refusing health insurance

It all comes down to cost. Low-wage hourly workers in industries such as restaurants, retail, hospitality and others are saying no because, for them, the cost of health care is simply not affordable. For many, it comes down to buying insurance or putting food on the table. Even a bi-weekly $65 insurance deduction from their paycheck is considered too much.

A recent survey by ADP Research Institute showed that only 37 percent of workers who made between $15,000 to $20,000 a year are willing to buy health insurance, while 82 percent of employees making $45,000 a year are willing to buy insurance. According to the health care law, affordable is defined as employer-sponsored insurance priced at 9.5 percent or less of an employee’s annual household income. Although the percentage is the same, for low-income wage earners, the amount they have to pay is still a chunk of change on their already tight budget.

Bottom line not looking good for hourly workers

The result for low-income wage earners is not pretty, no matter which direction you turn. They can't afford the premiums, and if they could, they could not afford the huge deductibles, and they also face fines for not having health insurance. The bottom line is that low-income workers are falling through the cracks with health insurance.

Read more by visiting www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/business/many-low-income-workers-say-no-to-health-insurance.html

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