There seems to be a new game in town that’s been getting more and more sophisticated: Searching for the Obamacare loophole.
It first seemed that the go-to loophole around Obamacare was cutting full-time employees’ hours to just under 30 in order to avoid being required to offer health insurance.
But now a new trend is developing: minimal health coverage that offers preventive health care but not much else. This minimum coverage qualifies as acceptable under the new healthcare regs, so it’s no surprise that advisers and insurance providers are pushing this “skinny” health coverage for employers.
The minimal health coverage plan would skimp out on basic services like x-rays, surgery, prenatal care and even hospitalizations itself. These plans would reportedly cost employers between $40-$100 per employee.
Will it really work?
The idea of finding a loophole for Obamacare is so employers won’t be subject to a $2,000 penalty they’d face for each employee that doesn’t have health insurance.
But offering minimal coverage may backfire if an employer is simply trying to avoid the penalty. Though they’d avoid the $2,000 penalty, if an employee rejects the offering and decides to find health insurance through a state healthcare exchange, employers’ll be hit with a $3,000 penalty.
With certain companies already getting heat in the public eye for cutting employees’ schedules in order to work around Obamacare, it’s hard to imagine this new plan-of-attack will work out — especially if basic services like surgery and x-rays require paying completely out-of-pocket.
Employers should also consider the negative effects of cutting down on benefits packages. It’s one thing if a small business can only afford to offer minimal coverage, but if a larger firm decided to cut back on its benefits, it would seriously do a number on morale.
What do you think? Would businesses successfully dodge Obamacare penalties with this workaround? Or would it just lead to more costly headaches? Let us know in the comments below.