Healthy San Francisco

A new ordinance recently went into effect in San Francisco — Healthy SF. It is basically a program that helps ensure all San Francisco residents have health insurance. It is a rather confusing program, one which I don’t understand completely, but it will affect you as a tourist, and you should be aware of it.

Healthy SF requires employers with 20+ employees to either provide healthcare to their employees, or pay into an expenditure account, or pay a fine to the City to help cover their employees. I have read quite a bit of literature on it (because I was employed by a company required to follow it), and it still causes me to scratch my head. It is a good program helping to protect the many employees who aren’t currently being covered.

So, how does this affect you? Programs like this cost money, money that small businesses don’t always have laying around. So, of course, this means passing much of that cost onto the customer. Many businesses have just folded it into the cost of their goods. But, and here is where you’re going to see it: many restaurants have chosen to add it as a surcharge to their bills. It is a nominal charge, but there nonetheless, and you should be aware. The restaurant I ate at this morning added 1$ per person to the bill; some are charging 3-5% of the final bill. Thankfully, many are starting to disclose this on their menu so you know ahead of time (this was not the case when they first started charging it).

You can find out more about this innovative program here.