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Changing the ACA's Definition of Full-Time Work Will Put More Workers at Risk and Increase Spending

Starting next year, large employers—those with at least 50 full-time employees—must offer health insurance coverage to full-time employees or pay a penalty if their employees become eligible for federal insurance subsidies. Current regulations specify that full-time employees are those working 30 or more hours per week. But some groups have urged the Obama administration to raise this minimum, arguing that employers will otherwise reduce workers' hours to avoid the penalty. In a new blog post, Sherry Glied, dean of the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, and Claudia Solis-Roman, a junior research scientist, share findings from a Commonwealth Fund–supported study showing that increasing the threshold would not only subject a much larger proportion of workers to having their hours cut, but would also increase the federal costs of health reform.

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