The ‘2 Broke Girls’
Hourly small-business employees, such as the staff at the Williamsburg Diner in the CBS show “2 Broke Girls,” may not get much leverage from Obamacare if they’ve been lacking health coverage through work.
“This situation is actually quite clear under the law,” says Zamosky. “Employers with fewer than 50 (full-time) employees are under no obligation whatsoever to offer health insurance.”
Their employer could choose to buy the girls coverage through the exchanges and possibly even get a subsidy, Wedig says.
On the other hand, if the diner already provides health insurance, it could opt to drop the coverage, forcing them to shop for their own health plan or pay the individual mandate penalty.
But if the diner offers health insurance and chooses to keep it, Baldwin says the rates could go up because the law requires small-business plans to offer a new set of essential health benefits including emergency services, hospitalization, and maternity care. The girls may get better coverage but it would likely mean an increase in their employee contributions.
“Either way, the girls are likely to be even more broke,” says Baldwin.