HARTFORD, Conn. — Aetna announced today the release of a white paper which discusses the health care challenges facing employers and their part-time and variable-hour employees. The number of Americans working part-time has grown to about 28 million according to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The paper, Benefit Solutions for a Growing Part-Time and Variable Hour Workforce, cites a number of key statistics, which demonstrate the rapid growth of the part-time workforce. The number of individuals working part-time rose from about 17 percent in 2007 (just before the recession) to nearly 20 percent in 2009. Part-time numbers have remained at the 20 percent level through mid-2013.1
Several factors such as struggling economy and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – which requires businesses to offer health care coverage to full-time employees or face tax penalties – have led many businesses to hire part-time instead of full-time workers.
"More and more, businesses are relying on part-time workers. But those same employers need strong benefit reward strategies if they want to attract and retain the right employees," said Joe Murgo, executive director of Aetna Voluntary Plans. "Public Exchanges offer a variety of health coverage choices. They do not offer employees extra coverage such as adult dental and vision plans, term life, and supplemental income protection. As employers work toward reducing costs, while remaining competitive in the marketplace, voluntary products will play a larger role in what benefits companies offer their workers."
Employers Recognizing the Need
Part-time workers must comply with the ACA's rule to have health care coverage. But many times these employees are not eligible to enroll in their company's full-time benefits program. While these workers may qualify for significant premium subsidies through the public Exchanges, they may not be able to afford the high out-of-pocket costs. As a result, more employers are looking to add voluntary benefit plans to help meet their employees' coverage needs.
Looking to the Future
Part-time workers will continue to be a critical segment of the workforce; fueling industries such as hospitality, restaurant, retail, and staffing. Therefore, new benefit solutions, such as voluntary plans, will likely continue to increase in popularity as plan sponsors look to solve a variety of workforce and benefits-related issues. These plans, some of which can add an extra layer of financial protection to an existing health plan or provide standalone options, can help part-time workers find the coverage that best meets their needs.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 44 million people with information and resources to help them make better-informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.
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