Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Shorter Workweek & Healthcare Benefits

Many people in America work 40 hours per week because it gives them healthcare benefits such as medical, dental and vision; however many companies don't offer any healthcare benefits for full-time employees, and it seems that only larger companies offer the best benefits overall. The challenge (when you are wanting to work a shorter workweek) is how to maintain your current benefits or perhaps go outside the company to find a plan that you can afford. If you work half time (20 hours per week), your benefits may be cut in half as well. A large percentage of people work full-time just to get healthcare benefits, as they don't like their jobs, and they dislike working 40 hours per week.

Since the United States doesn't have a National Healthcare Plan, it means that you have to either be without insurance, purchase it at a very high cost or find a state that has a subsidized plan (such as Washington State's Basic Health Plan). Of course, with a plan such as Basic Heath, you can't earn over a certain amount, so it doesn't encourage a person to find a job that pays enough to live on.

A new book (published in 2005) entitled Uninsured in America: Life & Death in the Land of Opportunity by Susan Starr Sered and Rushika Fernandopulle lists some interesting resources in the back of their book. Some of the web sites mentioned are as follows:









For more information about this book and to read the introduction, visit the following web site:


Michael Moore's newest film, Sicko, is scheduled to be out in the theaters sometime in 2007. On his web site, Michael states that Sicko is "a comedy about 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on earth." For more information about his film, visit http://www.michaelmoore.com.

There are a few companies in the United States that offer healthcare benefits for people working 20 hours a week, but they are usually service companies whose starting salaries are close to minimum wage, such as a coffee company and some grocery stores. Also these jobs are grueling and tiring, so they seem to attract very young workers, who never seem to need insurance anyway. We need a National Healthcare Plan in the US, and not one that is tied to employment; however, who knows how long it will take before we see changes in our healthcare system.

I know several people (over 45 years of age) who don't have any health insurance. They work for themselves, and most work a shorter workweek. Of course, they would like to have insurance, but they can't afford to pay for it. These people do not worry about not having it, as they mentioned that it doesn't do any good to worry. At least they are doing work they love and maintaining a good Work/Life balance.

I hope the above web sites and the book will be of some help to all of you.

Please leave comments here about how you manage to work a shorter workweek and maintain your health insurance.

1 comment:

Joni said...

I have been self-employed for nearly 20 years. I carry my own health insurance (now an HSA) for myself and my two children and now my husband who has been unemployed since June. The premiums go up every year, and the deductible is so high that I have yet to see them reimburse anything. When I think of how much I could have saved if I'd invested those premiums instead of paying them out, it makes me sick.

In order to pay for the health insurance, my children's school tuitions (one in college) plus all the other expenses of living in one of the most expensive areas of the country, I have little choice but to work as many hours as possible. Still, I have it better than most who are at the mercy of an employer.

Although I work "full-time" I take an hour each morning to work out, and an hour each lunchtime. I am able to drive my share of the carpool twice a week and get my son to after-school activities.

Getting to this point has not been easy. Being a pioneer in the work-at-home arena has meant many arrows in my back from people who just didn't get it. But it has been worth it. There were lots of years of sacrifice and scraping by. They are not necessarily over. If the health insurance issue were resolved, I could definitely cut back my hours significantly, and have more money to do the things I enjoy. But I don't see that happening in the near future.