ObamaCare Causing Universal Studios to Dump Universal Health Coverage
by KEN BRAUN
Universal Studios Orlando, and its companion, Universal Islands of Adventure, are for my money the greatest theme park ticket on the planet if you have two young sons, as I once did. Disney gives you princesses, magic tea-cups and folksy singing bears. Just down the road, Universal provides thrill rides featuring snarling dragons, the Terminator, Spiderman and the Hulk. I’m a 44 year old boy, and I still want to go back. So long as your boy is into anything more aggressive than Mister Rogers, Universal is the place for you.
Universal (and for that matter Disney as well) provide something else rather special: Cut-rate health coverage for part-time employees. According to the Orlando Sentinel, $18 per week buys part-timers what appears to be a high deductible, single-person plan, that pays the bills after a hospital visit exceeds $5,000.
This is the sort of thing that a formerly single friend of mine with no kids once referred to as the “truck insurance” health policy he hoped to find for himself.
“If I get hit by a truck, then I’m covered for the really nasty bills,” he’d say. “But otherwise, I pay a low monthly premium and pay out of pocket for most of my doctor visits and routine tests.”
I dunno if he ever got his “truck insurance” – often referred to as catastrophic coverage – but it was a perfect idea for somebody then in his situation: Young, single, gainfully employed, no kids, and healthy. If, God-forbid, an accident had happened, or a serious illness, then he would have the insurance to protect him from astronomic bills that could cause life-changing bankruptcy. Otherwise, he was mostly self-insuring and paying out of pocket for the routine medical costs of everyday life.
This appears to be exactly what Orlando’s biggest theme parks offer to the legions of young people and others on their part-time payrolls. Offering health coverage to part-timers is not the norm in the American workforce, but isn’t unheard of either: Wal Mart also does it, according to the newspaper. The Sentinel article says Universal has about 500 part-time enrollees in its plan.
But all that will end on Dec. 31. ObamaCare bans these sorts of deals – also known as “mini-med” plans – starting at the end of this year. Universal and any other employers providing this creative health care option for their workers will be forced to either switch them to more expensive coverage or dump coverage for part-timers. Universal has made the tough decision to drop the coverage, reports the newspaper, along with Orlando-based Darden restaurants (another industry that relies heavily on part-time help.)
Disney is silent on what its future plans may be. Wal-Mart has been ratcheting back part-time coverage since ObamaCare was passed.
A strength of the American workforce is the dynamism that allows job creators to tailor wages, hours and benefits to fit different industries with different mixes of workers of varying ages and stations in life. ObamaCare’s unprecedented mandates, restrictions, fees and fines is turning much of this on its head. Health care coverage and even jobs that are here today will be gone tomorrow as collateral damage from the unintended consequences of a law no lawmaker bothered to read.
It’s going to require big changes. We need to start now.
PLEASE STEAL OUR STUFF!
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