|By Tom Webb, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"Health care reform is transforming the benefits landscape and affecting how all employers, including
"Our decision to discontinue this benefit comes after careful consideration of the impact to our stores' part-time team members and to
For some of those workers, Kozlak said,
"We recognize this change may be better for some," she said, "and also may cause disruption for those who previously elected to enroll."
Considering new regulations on employer-sponsored health plans, plus the requirement for large employers to cover full-timers starting next year: "It makes quite a bit of sense to apply your resources where you need to -- and for other populations, have them be available for the subsidies and other benefits from the Affordable Care Act," Martin said.
The Obamacare subsidies are generous enough that -- especially for a part-time worker -- "it might actually be a better deal for the employee for the employer not to offer them coverage," Martin said.
Until now, consumers always faced issues of insurability. "Now, everyone has access if they want it," Martin said. "And if they're part-time and that's the only source of wages, their subsidy through the public exchange could reduce the cost of coverage much lower than what an employer could provide to them."
But not everyone will benefit. While fewer than 10 percent of
The government -- and ultimately taxpayers -- also have cause to be displeased.
"They're hoping the employers don't drop their coverage, because it would make the cost of the federal program go up, more than what they budgeted for it," Martin said.
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