Obamacare Could Negatively Impact Women

Twice as likely to work low-hour schedules

Economist Casey Mulligan has authored a new working paper for the Mercatus Center examining the impact of Obamacare’s “employer mandate” on various groups of workers. The mandate imposes financial penalties on larger employers who do not provide government-approved health insurance to employees who work more than 29 hours a week.

This provision creates an incentive for businesses to shift more people to part-time work, meaning fewer than 29 hours. Workers who currently work slightly more than 29 hours are especially vulnerable to having their hours reduced, and also losing any employer-provided coverage.

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It turns out that, “Female workers are twice as likely as male workers to have work schedules that are between 30 and 35 hours per week,” reports Mulligan.

On the one hand, these workers become eligible for Obamacare insurance subsidies, without inflicting a penalty on their employers, when their hours are reduced. Unfortunately — as we’ve been hearing for the past year — the insurance available through those exchanges doesn’t work for many people, and even with subsidies can cost more than the better coverage many workers receive — or used to receive from their employers. (The cost increases for Michigan were described in a previous blog on this site.)

Mulligan explains the findings in more plain-English vs. wonky terms in this article posted on Real Clear Markets. 

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