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Reform may make it difficult for restaurants to offer health insurance

Posted On Wed, October 27, 2010

Healthcare reform was designed to increase access to coverage. However, a study by the Hay Group and the Chain Restaurant Association says just the opposite could happen.

A number of chain restaurants offer their part-time employees limited medical plans. With healthcare reform, employers will be required to cover a larger portion of premium costs than they currently do. In such a case, some companies say they may no longer be able to afford to offer this form of coverage to their staffs.

Hay Group principal John Hennessy says many people stand to lose their health insurance benefits.

"Eventually, there's going to be a reckoning," says Hennessy. "Chain restaurants aren't in the position to provide comprehensive coverage to their full-time hourly employees at a price employees can afford, and when these requirements set in, thousands may lose access to health insurance coverage entirely."

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says 7.7 million people in 2008 worked in food and beverage serving and related positions. Income from such positions can vary. The BLS says the median hourly wage in 2008 for waiters and waitresses was $8.01.

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