Obamacare Call Center Employees Denied Healthcare Insurance

Robert Jonathan

A California Obamacare call center won't be offering health insurance to about half of its staff who suddenly found out they were part time and ineligible for benefits.

A local politician called the development about no health benefits for those misled workers who are now training for the jobs a "comedy of errors."

About 7,000 persons applied for the 204 positions at the call center in Concord, Calif., which is being set up to answer consumer questions about accessing benefits via the Affordable Care Act.

The call center allegedly ran a bait and switch because the jobs were originally advertised as full time according to the Contra Costa Times.

According to one of the call center workers, "What's really ironic is working for a call center and trying to help people get health care, but we can't afford it ourselves... It reminded me of that George Clooney movie where he goes around the country firing people ('Up in the Air'). [A supervisor] said, 'I know you were led to believe you would be full time, but things have changed.... You are actually 'part-time intermittent.' "

Noting that the hiring process was a comedy of errors, Contra Costa County Supervisor Karen Mitchoff added that "The battle for the call center was over jobs with good working wages and benefits; I never dreamed they would be part-time." She has conveyed her "extreme displeasure" to call center supervisors after hearing from outraged constituents.

As it stands now, the part-time workers will have to pay for their own health insurance, but it will be so expensive that for many it will be out of reach. The call center is supposed to be up and running as of October 1 when the healthcare exchanges take effect. In many states, the healthcare exchanges don't exist or are way behind schedule. These delays prompted US Senator Max Baucus in April to describe the Obamacare implementation as a huge train wreck.

About two weeks ago, California's insurance commissioner suggested that the Obamacare implementation in his state was shaping up to be a real disaster in terms of identity theft and fraud potentially committed by enrollment counselors.

In early July, the Obama administration announced it was postponing the employer (but not the individual) mandate by one year. Forbes claims there a two big problems with the employer mandate delay: "First, the delay implies that Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores of government health spending will become even less realistic than they currently are. Second, employers who take advantage of the delay will be on very shaky legal grounds."

Do you find it ironic that a group of Obamacare employees don't qualify for Obamacare?