Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Part time workers lack health coverage
USA TODAY covered Hawaii's healthcare system today, in a story by the Associated Press.
A statistic that stands out is that "Hawaii has the highest percentage of private sector part-time employees without employer sponsored health coverage in the country, according to a University of Hawaii study on the law's impacts."
That law is the historic Pre-paid Health Act, passed in 1974, which requires Hawaii employers to provide health insurance coverage for workers who work more than 20 hours a week. Since then, Hawaii has become one of the healthiest states in the country based on such factors as life expectancy, high number of insured, low number of emergency room visits, and others.
However, businesses looking to get around the law in order to save money hire more part time workers who work less than 20 hours a week.
The legislature passed a bill this session which would have required health insurers who offer health care coverage to regular employees of a group or association to offer the same coverage to part time employees who work at least 15 hours per week. HB690 Relating to Insurance.
The bill was vetoed by the Governor. The veto explanation stated that the bill "violates federal requirements governing employee benefits as set forth in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)." The legislature did not override the veto.