California Healthline: Extent Of Health Coverage Gains From California Gig Worker Law Uncertain
Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management Dylan Roby was interviewed for a California Healthline story about a new California law that extends health insurance coverage to independent contractors — like ride-share drivers, construction workers, custodians and truck drivers.
Although the "gig economy" law will probably expand health coverage throughout California, Dr. Roby — who is also an adjunct associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles — told California Healthline that the new law could also harm workers if companies try to skirt around the policy.
“A company whose contract workers average 35 to 40 hours a week, for example, could reclassify them as employees for the purpose of complying with the new law but try to limit their weekly hours to fewer than 29, thus avoiding the ACA coverage requirement,” Roby told California Healthline. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires large companies to offer health insurance to employees who work 30 hours or more a week.
Small companies are not required to cover their employees — but many do anyway — so those that hire independent contractors could face substantial costs if they choose to pay for reclassified workers. Small companies may instead choose to drop coverage altogether.
With some large employers, like Uber and Lyft, contesting the new law, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has indicated he is willing to negotiate changes and exemptions; but uncertainty abounds on how the new law will play out.
Roby’s research focuses on the Affordable Care Act’s implications for insurance markets, system redesign and access to care. He is the current director of Health Economics and Evaluation Research at UCLA and is the associate chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of Maryland.
Roby has been interviewed and quoted previously by many media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, CNN, Fox News, Al Jazeera America, Cosmopolitan, CBS radio, and NPR-affiliates including KPCC, WAMU, Wisconsin Public Radio, and KQED.