Universal Studios Orlando provides limited health insurance for it's part time workers...or at least will until the end of the year. The theme park announced that it will stop offering medical insurance to part-time employees beginning next year, a move the resort says has been forced by Obamacare.
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.Ah-- the unintended consequences of a government takeover of the nation's health system.
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.
Universal said it would not save any money by dropping the part-time insurance plans. The resort said it currently does not spend anything itself on plan — it only negotiates a group rate through Florida Hospital and then helps facilitate employee enrollment.Darden Restaurants announced yesterday that its limited-coverage plans will also "go away after this year."
Critics of mini-med insurance plans say they ultimately provide little protection for workers, with meager payout limits that are nowhere near enough to cover medical emergencies. Supporters argue they are a realistic option for low-paid, limited-hour workers who can't afford better plans.
Other large employers are grappling with the same issue as Universal.
"We'd like to have the option to continue offering them, since they are popular with our part-time employees, but the ACA doesn't offer that type of flexibility," spokesman Rich Jeffers said. "There is still a lot we don't know about the new health-care regulations for 2014, but we are committed to helping all of our employees navigate through the new environment as we learn more."Walt Disney World has about 1,400 part-time employees enrolled in limited plans. It hasn't announced its decision (when I worked at Disney they were self insured and may still be). Sea World Orlando hasn't decided either.
Other large businesses nationwide have also been paring back benefits for part-time workers. Two years ago, for instance, Wal-Mart Stores stopped offering health coverage to new part-time employees who work less than 24 hours a week on average. Last year, the world's largest retailer raised that threshold to 30 hours a week.Isn't socialism just grand? I suspect the MSM will blame these cruel and evil corporations instead of the real villain--Obama's policies.