Florida often makes the headlines for weird news. Now the state is paving the way for a new surcharge on your dining bill. Some restaurants are adding 1% surcharge to their bills to cover their future costs of providing health care to their employees. The Obamacare mandate has not yet kicked in, and won’t until next year, however, the restaurant owners are preparing in advance for costs of extra accounting and HR work.
1% Surcharge in Florida
According to a story in MyFoxTampaBay, Gators Dockside Restaurants, a chain of 8 restaurants in Florida, have begun to add a %1 surcharge to all dining bills. Signs are posted on the doors and servers are carrying laminated signs to the tables to alert diners. They are receiving a mixed response with most of it being a positive feedback, however, there are some folks who are not appreciative of the incurred expense.
Presently, only management of the chain of restaurants receives health insurance, and they expect the added surcharge to bring in approximately $160,000 this year. The anticipated cost of complying with the health care mandate is about $500,000. Restaurant management could choose not to provide health care to its employees and, instead, opt to place all workers on a part-time basis.
Los Angeles Follows Suit With 3%
Meanwhile, across the continent in Los Angeles, CA, Republique, which is an upscale restaurant, is providing its diners with a bill inclusive of an optional 3% surcharge. CNN Money reports that Republique’s servers voluntarily explain to its guests that the optional 3% ACA (Affordable Care Act) surcharge affords all of its 80 employees full-time work with health insurance. The health care mandate does not take effect in Los Angeles until approximately 2016.
Nothing Is For Free
The ACA surcharge is an early reminder that nothing is free, including health care. Everything comes at a price. Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Even if it is not for ourselves, we may wind up paying for it one way or another. The cost of paying for unpaid health care of the poor is called “cost shifting.” When the uninsured and/or underinsured seek medical care and are unable to pay their bills, or pay their bills in full, often times the remaining balance is shifted to private insured patients. Cost shifting is a common practice. The question we would ask ourselves is: do we pay for general health care up front, or on the back end?