Wegmans cuts benefits as Obamacare looms

Known for treating its employees well, the supermarket chain will end health insurance for part-timers in 2015. That might not be so bad, though.

By Aimee Picchi Jul 12, 2013 1:03PM

Wegmans grocery store in Fairfax, Va. (© Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)It's one thing when a fast-food company cuts back on employment in response to Obamacare, but Wegmans' decision to reduce benefits has got to hurt. After all, burger joints aren't often thought of as benefits-laden employers. 


But Wegmans, an East Coast supermarket chain, has built a loyal following not only for its well-stocked stores but for its generous benefits. Now it's cutting health insurance for part-time workers starting in 2015. The reason? Obamacare. 


Privately held Wegmans had offered health insurance to workers with at least 20 hours a week, Syracuse.com reports. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers are required to offer health insurance only to full-time employees with 30 hours or more a week.


"This change will not take effect for our existing part-time employees until 2015," Wegmans said. "We have met one-on-one with each impacted employee to reassure them and to let them know we are going to do everything we can to help them through these changes."


While the ACA goes into effect next year, the Obama administration earlier this month said it would postpone until 2015 the requirement that large employers provide health insurance to full-time workers. 


Wegmans' decision is likely to provide support to the law's detractors, who argue that the health insurance overhaul will increase costs for businesses and potentially hurt workers if employers cut hours or pay as a result.


Adding to the fuel is Wegmans' reputation as a generous employer. CBS News in 2011 praised the company's efforts to make its 41,000 employees "happy, well cared-for and given extensive avenues for growth." That includes benefits such as flexible scheduling, a scholarship program and adoption assistance. 


Other companies that have signaled plans to cut hours include Regal Entertainment Group (RGC), Applebee's and Denny's (DENN). 


The bright side for part-time Wegmans employees? They might be better off under Obamacare, given the subsidies that will be available based on income level, one insurance expert told the Buffalo News. 


Brian Murphy, a partner at  the insurance brokerage Lawley Benefits Group, told the publication, "If you have an employee that qualifies for subsidized coverage, they might be better off going with that than a limited part-time benefit."


Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi. 

376Comments
Jul 12, 2013 1:45PM
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Liberals pass laws without thinking of the real world consequences as they are so delusional that they are right 100% of the time. They think like a 6 year old.

 

Funny thing, most of these lower wage workers probably voted for Obama and his ACA. Karma is a bitch.

Jul 12, 2013 2:29PM
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OK, so if I work full time I can pay for all of my health insurance, all of my food, my cell phone and all of my housing and help pay for those on the dole.  Or I can quit my full time, 40+ hour a week job, and work part time and get subsidies for health insurance, food stamps, an Obamaphone and section 8 housing. 

Why should I work?

Jul 12, 2013 1:50PM
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I'm still waiting for the Biitch Pelosi to read the bill to let us know if it's good or bad.

 

 

 

 

Jul 12, 2013 2:00PM
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It's a bad law and needs to be repealed.  At the same time let's impeach Obama.
Jul 12, 2013 1:50PM
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yet another situation where obamacare is taking away from workers.  time to repeal the law and start over. this time how about reading it??? and letting the PEOPLE know what is in it and vote for changes or the law. 
Jul 12, 2013 1:59PM
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Yeah this Obama care thing is really working out. My monthly bill has gone up $50 a month with out any better coverage, and the administration keeps telling me that everythings fine. How much are the politicians paying out of pocket every month? I would like to know.
Jul 12, 2013 1:59PM
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The majority of Congress has never been in business.  They have no idea of what business does.  Doctors do not have to accept your insurance.  Business does not have to employ you full-time.  Business does not have to stay in business.  
Jul 12, 2013 1:43PM
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But Taxpayers aren't better off, they are paying for their own insurance, the hikes involved with that and then the subsidies for others.
Jul 12, 2013 2:41PM
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I just waited 3 hours at the DMV, only to be subjected to poor service and poor quality.  Why on earth does anyone think that getting government involved in healthcare is a good decision?
Jul 12, 2013 2:06PM
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All new people.  I know the next election we get a new president, but for the senate and congress all new people.  It sounds drastic but we have need all new people for a long, long time.  It may not solve the problem but it sure will shake up the system.
Jul 12, 2013 2:30PM
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I don't think much of liberals who keep backing the idiot and his ideas that are destroying our great nation.
Jul 12, 2013 1:48PM
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When will this insane mess go away.....there has to be a better way to help all!
Jul 12, 2013 2:41PM
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Can we please remember all of this on election day?  Dems need to go!!
Jul 12, 2013 2:40PM
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Ironic, most of the people losing benefits voted for this moron.
Jul 12, 2013 2:37PM
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Obama will ruin this country.............look around..........

 

Jul 12, 2013 1:50PM
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There is no bright side. This will put more people on government subsidized healthcare as you said. To call this a bright side is Socialistic which I've come to expect from the English speaking news media word wide. Putting more people indebted to the Obama Regime is something I never thought I lived to see. Even worse is forcing people into a program that many would prefer to not be in. Glad I moved out.
Jul 12, 2013 2:27PM
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Its even effecting big business.

I work at a large aerospace company with a Cadillac plan. Best insurance on the market, but the costs have skyrocketed to the employee while the coverage has declined. All due to the $10,000 a year cap annually per employee .

This means if the company pays more than $10,000 a year per employee Obamacare will place a fine (tax) on that company per employee to help fund this new law. My company paid $12,000, now its under $10,000.

Way to punish the some of the last great company's out there.

Jul 12, 2013 2:24PM
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The biggest problems with Omabacare is it creates new problems - which won't be seen until after he is out.

Wait until you can't find a doctor or better yet, does not takes your insurance and accepts cash only...

Now working people pay more to get less or die waiting to see a doctor.

 

The law needs to import 100,000 foreign doctors to care for the new roles...or pay for new doctors to be educated...but of course reality sucks and people are going to die waiting...

 

 

Jul 12, 2013 2:01PM
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This will be better for probably most of the employees as their part time income will give them tax credits and subsidies for coverage under the exchanges which is probably as good or better then what their employer offered.  The employer does not have to offer insurance to part time people.

 

But this is one of the major reasons this whole system will collapse.  Call it what you want, it is not cost control.  It was to provide access to health care and is now paying for the premiums for a number of  people because of  the tax credits and subsidies.  Someone has to pay for that.  Call it a tax credit or subsidy it is an entitlement.  Either the plans will reduce benefits rather then increase premiums or the threashold of 400% of the poverty level test will be decreased.  You can't put in what is basically becoming nationalized insurance without paying for it.  And there are no mechanisms in place that will nearly cover that cost.

Jul 12, 2013 2:31PM
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I will now be the third person posting the same question:


If they are already giving insurance to workers at 20 hours, how does a requirement that they do so starting at 30 hours hurt them? They are already giving those employees insurance. What am I missing?

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