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

Feb 20, 2013 5:22PM

Funny how Fiesty Redhead and all the cattle that follow her are missing from this string of posts.

Seems like they are the cause of this and have no answer so tney stay quiet.

Feb 20, 2013 5:21PM
Affordable care act....even if they get the cost of insurance down to an affordable level, the cost of this plan will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.  How stupid for people to believe that the government was going to make those rich companies pay. 
Feb 20, 2013 5:20PM
Are all of you really happy with Obama yet? I know I am so happy I could puke.
Feb 20, 2013 5:20PM
Amazing how there are so many repugs on here whining about the jobless. They seem to have a lot of free time themselves. Seems hypocrisy isn't a word in their dictionary, there's just one: hate.
Feb 20, 2013 5:19PM
Boycott Dunkin Donuts! Greedy cheap b*st*rds. We do not want or need companies like this in our nation. Nor do we need ANY of these good for nothing rethuglicans.
Don't want to help your employees get adequate healthcare? GET OUT!
Sell your company to someone that doesn't mind lowering profits a bit help living, breathing people. People before profits!
Boycott Dunkin donuts!
That sh*t isn't good for people anyway!
They're part of our health care problem in the first place!
its time to stop feeding the fat cats and its time to take care of your Employees you PIGS
Feb 20, 2013 5:18PM
Yeah.....Obama is the greatest thing since sliced bread....Can't wait for to say..TOLD YA SO...
Feb 20, 2013 5:17PM
Republicans - always more worried about a dollar than the well-being of actual human beings.
Feb 20, 2013 5:16PM
How dare the federal government require businesses to do the right thing. Isn't this the country of the rich writing their own rules?
Feb 20, 2013 5:16PM
How many of you with full-time jobs with full benefits would be willing to be converted to part-time with no benefits so that your employer could make a bigger profit? I'd also like to hear from franchise owners who would truthfully tell me what their annual income is.  Don't many people own several franchises because it is so lucrative? And those who bemoan all the freeloaders living off their tax dollars, wouldn't you rather encourage them to work by making good-paying jobs with benefits more available instead of less?
Feb 20, 2013 5:15PM
it makes NO SENSE that your employer should control your health insurance or that you should have to pay for the profit margin for the insurance company.
Feb 20, 2013 5:15PM
Remember it is the damned Democrats that are responsible for this debachle the next time you vote. Don't support liberals, ever!
Feb 20, 2013 5:14PM
Bush Did It.....that's what you are gonna here from Communist Nutty News and Missing Stuff News Bureau Cons ... hey, they are making tons of money for just yapping....in support / love of Obama....Well, I am going on record > Mr. Bush DID NOT do this to America....Obie-One-Commie  did it.
Feb 20, 2013 5:13PM
 I'm convinced the majority of libs think it is free. If you think people are screeming now, wait until all these idiots find out that Obamacare isn't free.  Wait until they see it coming out of their checks ...the ones that actually work.
Feb 20, 2013 5:13PM
Now that is how you stimulate an economy. Add more burden on business' and cut the hours of unskilled labor. That Obama is an economics genius.
Feb 20, 2013 5:12PM
Anything to line the politicians pockets.  You may say that you are not going to raise our taxes but you get us in other areas and there's not much we can do about it.  I love our country!  But who do you elect who has our backs?  I am feeling more and more that the government has to have their hands in everything and it is not making life easier but more difficult by penalizing good hard working businesses.  In the long run we will all have to pay higher prices at the cash register.  A win win?  Hardly!  Thanks for force feeding us with a fire hose shoved down our throats.  Those that voted for Obama, thanks alot, you deserve it!
Feb 20, 2013 5:11PM
This is just another way for Obama to get more money from people, cheaper to pay the government then the insurance!!! Its all part of the Democrats plan to get "we the people" dependent on government then we are all screwed.
Feb 20, 2013 5:10PM

Here's a good article about related to this explaining exactly what the $2000 fine really will do:


The real kicker to the whole thing is that the health insurance provided by a company must be "governmnet approved".  This means even if a company provides insurance they still could be subject to the fine. I know of two examples. Hobby Lobby is willing to offer insurance under the new laws but is against contraception due to regilious beliefs. This makes them subject to the fine because under the ACA they must provide insurance that covers it.   Since they are not a church they can't get the exemption.


The other example is the company at which my brother in law works. He had Cadillac level insurance for him and his family.  Basically everything after his deductable is paid once the deductable is meet.  They also provide a HSA (company funded) to cover the deductable.  They have 150 employees, this plan is not "government approved" (I don't what part of the plan is causing the problem) and they have to pay the fine.  So to avoid the $300000 per year fine they are taking it out of the workers pay but still providing the insurance.  I remember hearing but cannot find that thess "high" level plans are fined to get everyone on the same level plans.  I think the theory is this will bring all cost down since the insurance companies won't have to pay them out. I cannot find anything to support this so I am unsure about this part of the ACA. 


In any event the rules of this plan have raised insurance premiums because all plans must meet a minimum level of care now.  So the insurance company has to raise premiums to be able to cover the additional cost (this is known as business 101, income needs to exceed expenses to survive).  I found this article showing an example of the increases.  In this example it's .50 to $1 per hour.  At 30 hrs per week at the max $1 over 52 weeks would equal $1560 per employee.  If you have 150 employees that's $234000 in additional costs. 


My personal feeling is the 2 biggest problems with the ACA are that they tried to "fix" everything at one time instead picking one or two problems and tackling those first then giving some time to see if plan actually worked.  The second is law basically passed with only democrats voting yes.  They completely ignored any input from republicans.  This has been an increasing problem in government in the last 15 years or so. the bases for our system to work is compromise.  You have a idea on the "left" side and I have a idea that is "right" side then we work together and meet in the middle. In that scenerio we help the greastest number of people and tick off relately few.  Of course to do that would require giving a little from both sides.  I thought Bush was bad at giving up ground to reach a compromise but Obama is far worse.  And until our "leaders" stop acting like spoiled babies we are all screwed in the long run.


Feb 20, 2013 5:10PM
Feb 20, 2013 5:09PM
Listen you ****s, Dunkin Donuts sells a cup of COFFEE FOR $2.80 ALL DAY LONG! They brag about the billions earned!!! These people should be BOYCOTTED for even bringing this up, and I did not mention the Donut Sales, Muffins, breackfast MEALS, Baels.

GET REAL they got nothing coming, this is a publicity stunt and you are the receiving end of a Rump Ranger PArTY
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