May 3, 2010

State targets part-timers with health coverage plan

Employers must have more than 50 workers and be willing to contribute.

By John Richardson
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

“The stars would have to be aligned for it to functionally work,” said Joel Allumbaugh, president of the Maine Association of Health

Underwriters and a broker who coordinates insurance plans for employers.

“There are going to be a whole lot of companies (the vouchers are) just not logistically going to work for.”

While some brokers immediately found companies that might take advantage of the program, others ran up against too many potential complications.

Allumbaugh, for example, said that it wouldn’t work for any of his clients, and that he would be concerned that a company wouldn’t receive enough slots to cover all of its part-timers, including future employees.

The state also has received questions about how the limited number of vouchers will be distributed fairly, and about the large expense of the program, said Karynlee Harrington, executive director of Dirigo Health Agency.

Vouchers will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis and the agency will be flexible in working with individual companies, Harrington said. She also said the high cost of the program, like other efforts to expand access to insurance, simply reflects the underlying problem of rising health care costs.

“People are still trying to figure out how it all works,” Harrington said. While it won’t solve the health insurance problem for every company or part-time worker, she said, “there are people out there that this program will help.”

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at:

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