Dunkin' takes shot at modifying Obamacare

The company is lobbying the government to narrow the Affordable Care Act's definition of 'full time,' which would mean fewer employees for it insure.

By Aimee Picchi Feb 20, 2013 1:24PM

File photo of a Dunkin' Donuts Inc. store in Midtown Manhattan (© Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)The question of who counts as a full-time worker is coming under fire from Dunkin' Brands (DNKN), which wants the government to narrow its definition under Obamacare. That's because it wants to avoid paying health insurance for Dunkin' Donuts employees who work as little as 30 hours a week.


Dunkin' Brands is lobbying the government to change the U.S. Affordable Care Act's definition of "full-time" to employees working at least 40 hours a week, instead of the 30 hours currently written into the law, Chief Executive Nigel Travis told the Financial Times


The latest volley from an iconic U.S. business comes as the ACA is set to go into effect next year. The law will require employers with 50 or more full-time employees (30 hours or more) to offer those workers "minimum essential" healthcare insurance. 


Dunkin' Brands, which also owns Baskin-Robbins, operates on a franchise model. The parent company, excluding workers at its company-owned restaurants, employed more than 1,120 people at the end of 2011, according to its annual report.


But the real benefit would likely go to Dunkin's franchisees, who operate more than 10,000 Dunkin' Donuts locations and almost 7,000 Baskin-Robbins restaurants. 


Other big businesses are lashing out at the costs of the plan. Supermarket chain Kroger (KR) told the FT that some companies might decide to pay the government-mandated penalty for failing to insure employees simply because it's cheaper than buying insurance. 


Small-business owners are also reacting. As previously reported by MSN moneyNOW, one Wendy's franchise in Nebraska is cutting back the hours of non-management employees to avoid paying health benefits. The local franchise vice president said his company couldn't afford to pay for health insurance and instead is cutting hours of about 100 Wendy's workers. 


Other businesses are keeping their employee count under 50, the FT notes. 


The average cost to employers of providing insurance for a single worker is $4,664 and $11,329 for a family, the FT notes, citing the Kaiser Family Foundation. The penalty for not insuring employees under Obamacare, meanwhile, is $2,000 per worker. 


"If you look through the economics of the penalty the companies pay versus the cost to provide coverage, the penalty's too low, or the cost of coverage is too high, or the combination is wrong," Kroger Chief Executive David Dillon told the newspaper. 


More on moneyNOW

1467Comments
Feb 20, 2013 2:40PM
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No insurance, no problem, just go to the emergency room and they will give you free care. doctors, nurses, technicians, janitors, hospital food service and other hospital employees will not get a raise because the hospital has not money because of all the free care, then next year everyones insurance rate go up to pay the costs of keeping the hospital open.  Moral, YOU will pay for it through higher   hospital costs to offset free care or  15 cent more for burgers at Mcdonalds because the owner provides insurance for his employees

 or

be a good republican and say, screw the hourly workers , they should have gotten a college education in the first place, then they would have insurance

Feb 20, 2013 2:38PM
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Big businesses and health insurers attacking the common man. Businesses trying to make us foot the bill while insurers gouge us.

Government isn't the problem people. They should change the law by raising the penalty through the roof, so businesses can't use that as a loophole. Then turnaround and penalize the insurers for rate increases beyond the rate of inflation.

The repubs and conservatives undermined the bill by not allowing a public option to give everyone another option besides private insurers who are price gouging. The bill didn't go far enough. Scare tactics worked, and now you see the consequences.

Businesses would've flooded the public option, which would've drove rates down by creating competition for these private insurers.
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when obama gets done with us...there be nothing left..
Feb 20, 2013 2:35PM
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Who knew!!! I thought it was FREE??? I'm OUTRAGED!
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This is what happens when you force a private company to engage in commerce (read: taxing businesses that have more than 50 employees)--they find loopholes and ways around it.  or, they go out of business--neither of which solves the issues that the law was intended to fix.
Feb 20, 2013 2:34PM
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I would venture to guess that half the people that voted for Oblameo don't even know what Obama-care is or it even exist.
Feb 20, 2013 2:28PM
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The CEO of Dunkin Donuts, Nigel Travis, made $1,957,925 in 2011. And he is worried about letting 30 hour per week peon employees who are the backbone of the company either get healthcare benefits, or him pay a penalty? I wonder why the employees are only able to work 30 hours - to keep from paying them benefits in the past? Me thinks Nigel needs to do an "Undercover Boss" episode...
Feb 20, 2013 2:27PM
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A few months ago we heard Papa John's Pizza complaining that ObamaCare would force them to increase pizza prices by 10 cents a pie.

 

So how much more will a Donut or ice cream cone cost at Dunkin Brand stores?

 

 I'm sure every true American wouldnt mind paying a couple cents more per donut so that their fellow americans serving them a donut could have health care.. Right?

Feb 20, 2013 2:17PM
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obama should pay for insurance out of his pocket for everyone no gov paying since he thinks its a great plan
Feb 20, 2013 2:07PM
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HERE YOU GO! EXACTLY WHAT REPUBLICANS AND CONSERVATIVES SAID! RATES ARE GOING UP AND SERVICES CUT AND BUSINESS DECIDING TO PAY THE FINE INSTEAD OF

PAYING HIGH COST OF OBAMACARE AND YOU'LL BE FORCED INTO SINGLE PAYER BIG GOVT

NANNY STATE HEALTHCARE WITH DEATHPANELS! ONE OF THE PROGRAMS IS ALREADY F-

ING BROKE!!! WHERE IS THE NEWS MEDIA! OBAMACARE IS A DISASTER ALREADY! YOU BIG

DOPES WHO THINK OBAMACARE IS GONNA BE GREAT CHEAP HEALTHCARE ARE RETARDS!

Feb 20, 2013 2:01PM
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These are the type of employers that complain about paying taxes to support emergency rooms as well as they insure that their employees have no where else to go. Me first when it comes to dollars. Oh by the way don't raise the minimum wage so the they might be able to afford their own insurance.
Feb 20, 2013 1:57PM
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Every employer in America should wise up, lay all of their employees off, and then hire them all back as subcontractors.  Pay them double what they are making now and let them be responsible for their own benefits, workers' comp, UE insurance, self-employment taxes, retirement plans, etc...  Give them a 1099 at the end of the year and be done with it.  This is the wave of the future.
Feb 20, 2013 1:45PM
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"If you look through the economics of the penalty the companies pay versus the cost to provide coverage, the penalty's too low, or the cost of coverage is too high, or the combination is wrong,"

The above is the exact the same reason Wall Street crooks continue to cheat, defraud and steal from investors........the mass of riches they might accumulate and secret away is far greater than the relative punishment for their crimes(if they get caught). Conscience plays no part in their decisions, as it does not with any crook.......it is wholly a game of chance..... that is, how much money can be gained against what may be personally lost in prison time.

And, how much prison time is worth a lifetime of living like a king after prison on those ill-gotten gains? When our society and gov't laws, rules and practices, or lack thereof, encourages anyone to even consider that behavior proves that there is something terribly wrong with our system. Is there now even any public or gov't concern about fixing it? Therein lies the rub.
Feb 20, 2013 1:45PM
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Some things never change... Government is the problem, not the solution.
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