Research out of the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has indicated the shift from full-time employees to part-time employees, occurring concurrently with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), actually began years before the new legislation was proposed. The gradual rollout of health insurance reform is blamed for many employers transitioning full-time workers to part-time in order to avoid PPACA mandates for employers with at least 50 full-time employers. According to the report, the number of part-time employers has been on the incline since 2007, and has risen from 16.7 that year to 22.2 percent in 2011.
During that approximately four year period, part-time workers began to experience a large decline in healthcare coverage compared to full-time workers. Specifically, the EBRI found that full-time employers experienced a 2.8 percent reduction in probability of coverage while part-time workers suffered a 15.7 percent reduction. Even in 2011, 59.6 percent of full-time employees had employer-sponsored healthcare coverage while part-time workers had coverage only 15.7 percent of the time.
“Full-time workers are much more likely than part-time workers to have coverage from their own employers,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program. “Both have been trending downward since 2007.”
Fronstin considers the results to provide an important baseline for determining the true impact of the PPACA after the coverage mandate goes into play next year. A study out of UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education predicts that up to 2.3 million workers may see their hours cut due to the PPACA. And while disturbing, is still a considerably lower estimate than others have put forward in the past.