Trader Joe's makes an Obamacare trade-off
The grocer drops health insurance for part-timers, but it hopes $500 and some help finding new government coverage will ease the blow.
By taking the middle ground, the discount organic grocer may have shown other retailers and restaurants a way forward that addresses both their corporate interests and their employees' well-being.
In a memo to staffers dated Aug. 30, obtained by The Huffington Post, Trader Joe's CEO Dan Bane said the company will give part-timers a check for $500 in January and help them find a new plan under the Affordable Care Act.
Trader Joe's has long offered health care, dental and vision plans to part-time workers at low cost -- which is rare in the grocery industry. Since those low-wage workers will be eligible for tax subsidies to buy health insurance next year, it appears the company's math indicates that offering insurance to employees working 18 hours isn't worth the cost.
"Depending on income you may earn outside of Trader Joe's, we believe that with the $500 from Trader Joe's and the tax credits available under the ACA, many of you should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little if any net cost to you," Bane wrote.
It still looks like a cost-cutting measure on its surface, but, admittedly, Trader Joe's health care decision seems at least to pay lip service to its part-timers' concerns. The same can't be said for SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS), which just announced amid declining attendance and the release of an unflattering documentary that it plans to cut part-time workers' hours from 32 to 28 starting in November. The Affordable Care Act's cutoff for mandatory health coverage is 30 hours.
While Sea World didn't mention Obamacare directly in its statement to The Orlando Sentinel, it looked an awful lot like the pre-Obamacare hour-cutting measures being implemented or threatened by White Castle, Papa John's (PZZA), Wendy's (WEN), Dunkin' Donuts (DNKN) and Darden Restaurants (DRI).
By offering its workers some money and some help, Trader Joe's hopes to avoid some of the criticism endured by the other companies. At the very least, the concessions may earn it some of the goodwill earned by other members of the grocery industry, who have attempted to offset health cuts with other perks.
Maybe next year they could pass "Obama-car", so you can wait until after you have an accident to purchase car insurance. They could force car insurance companies to pay for repairs once you buy a policy, regardless of any pre-existing damage to the vehicle. Or maybe "Obama-life", so you can purchase life insurance on a loved one, even after they're dead.
Omama: "You can keep the insurance you already have"......
Yeah right. Unless this law is de-funded, our health care decisions will be determined by our government. And we've all seen how well that works - just take a look at the Veterans Administration.
Finally, common sense in the business world. Sounds like a great place to work.
The Affordable Care Act's cutoff for mandatory health coverage is 30 hours.
Anytime government gets involved in health insurance, I cringe and wonder about the motive. Why? Because I personally witnessed a program where a city required any employer who did business with the city to give employees insurance, or else give them a $1.50 an hour subsidy for getting their own - the choice being the employee's. The goal was to get the low wage employee's off of medicare, and out of free clinics. Oh, but the politicians "forgot" to require the employees who took the $1.50 an hour subsidy to use it on insurance. So, the employees took the $1.50, and still used medicare and free clinics for their health care needs. The politicians didn't even have the grace to say "oops" - because all these people who took the $1.50 and ran expressed their forgiveness for the "mistake" by voting those politicians back into office.
And as far as Obamacare goes, interesting how Obama failed to put the promised caps on insurance rates. So, the low wage earners get subsidized insurance, the rich insurance companies get richer, and those of us in the middle get stuck with the bill... again.
What a "shocking surprise"!!!!!
You'll see many other companies following this one. Even the fortune 100 company I work for is on their way there. I bailed from our insurance years ago seeing it coming. Right now I'm lucky my wife's insurance is still good, but the day will come when we are "forced" into the POS ACA. I despise this A$$hole administration for cramming this down our throats.
It's pretty simple... Here is what employers need to do... DROP coverage. Then reduce pay by $2000 a year and use the money saved to pay the Obamacare fine. This eliminates the employer from the decision. It has the people the people that benefit pay the democrat fines.
I encourage every employer in the country faced with Obamacare 'fines' to simple reduce pay by the amount of the democrat tax...
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