Minimum wage workers would be far, far better served by signing up for Medicaid. The ACA Medicaid expansion relaxed entry requirements to the program so that single, non disabled adults with no children (the poor people previously excluded from coverage) can sign up for the practically free insurance.
Now any adult making 133% of the federal poverty limit, or up to $15,400, can get Medicaid unless they live in a red state that refused the expansion to thumb their nose at Obama. States that refused Medicaid expansion, and chose to keep their working poor uninsured, include Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas, all recommended previously as cheap.
This investment firm created “budget” move would have a minimum wage worker in California go from making $10.50 an hour and having nearly free insurance for adults earning $16,643 or less to making $7.25 an hour in Jackson, Mississippi and having to spend $1 of every $5 they take home on insurance.
It should come as no surprise that minimum wage workers are usually in poorer health than people paid enough to live on. Nutrient deficient diets, poor or interrupted sleep, and the chronic stress of poverty all take their toll. Standing or running eight hours a day on hard floors causes back, hip, and knee damage. Being out in all weather going to and from work, and constantly dealing with cash and the public all increase someone’s odds of contracting viral or bacterial infections.
If anything poor people need healthcare more than the upper classes. But they/we need coverage that’s comprehensive and affordable on minimum wage. The only program to meet these two needs is Medicaid. A HDHP at $1,704 for the year is $1,704 more expensive to the consumer than Medicaid, before getting any non preventive care. Medicaid, unlike HDHPs, covers some vision and dental costs, as well as some over the counter medicines and supplies.