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 9:07PM
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Sure a lot of opinions, for something that has been discussed to death...

 

Maybe what we should be investigating, IS the Insurance Industry; they are the sneaky bastards.

 

And then the so-called"non-profit"Hospitals and Medical Institutions and the Medical Profession itself.

Why do our pills cost so much?....For starters.

Feb 20, 2013 9:05PM
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Its an Obamanation!! Considering the $2.000 fines may never make it to the economy because it will be in the hands (pockets) of our wise spending elected officials we lose. Really can't blame the companies trying to protect what they have as they have been dealt this card just as you and I are. You and I will bear the cost of this mess as the consumer pays for everything in the end.
The day will come when not only does the company pay a fine but you and I will too. Can't afford the insurance so your answer will be to fine me, hmm can't afford the fine now what. Maybe they will pay off our debt to China with this money. I say it again ITS AN OBAMANATION. 
Feb 20, 2013 9:04PM
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Yeah king obama came up with this , good enough for all of us common people , but not good enough for him !!!
Feb 20, 2013 8:58PM
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Doesn't take an econ major to see someone was smoking when they came up with that cost via penalty. Lol
Feb 20, 2013 8:57PM
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It  be easy! and those who said insurance cost around 4664 for single employee and 11329 for all family are going to the extreme..."health care provider" should stop stealing money from insurance by stop charging for extra services that ppl don't request or need. Why some hospital send your blood work to more than one laboratory and then the patient had to pay for all those extra stupid fees. If every american had insurance and the health provider stop stealing....insurance will become affordable for companies offer to their employees.

Feb 20, 2013 8:56PM
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I won't ever visit a Dunkin' Donuts again.  Offering affordable insurance to the work force is an easy accomplishment. This is about greed and the profit margin, instead of the health and well being of their work force.

Feb 20, 2013 8:54PM
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Life was so much simpler before this Obama guy came on the scene.  It has been nothing but turmoil from day one and it just keeps getting worse as the days go by.  Now he is effectively telling the American people that he is going to punish them unless they don't force their  Congress to give him what he wants.  Instead of cutting expenses for a Government that is rolling 
in bloated expenses, he is telling Americans he is going to start cutting basic services. This is nothing but pure blackmail.  And Americans are stupid enough to accept this. He's could cut this  measly 5-7% out of his own bloated bureaucracy, but instead he's going to start cutting First Responders, saying the GOP is putting lives at stake, or firing schoolteachers, laying-off military. 
This guy will say anything to meet his own designs.
Feb 20, 2013 8:53PM
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It is increasingly common to find that only one person likes Obamacare, and that would be Obama.
Feb 20, 2013 8:52PM
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Democrats lol I can't believe you idiots voted Obama in again...YOU are whats wrong with America...
Feb 20, 2013 8:51PM
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there is in this country a large segment of businesses and their stooges who believe they are the victims.  every one of them operates under government requirement that what they do is a benefit to the citizenry.  read the terms of incorporation.  in return, their liability is limited to the value of a fictional "person".  real people don't have that protection.  these "people" aren't providing for the real people because they want the money.  the workers be damned.  if they can do business with slave labor, they do it.  they call it outsourcing.  it's really selling out Americans.  such businesses are traitors.  it's not Obamacare; it's the affordable care act because real Americans can't afford to live.  the business leaders were given tax breaks so they could create jobs and be responsible citizens.  now they refuse to create jobs and be responsible citizens because they believe they are more entitled than those they sold out to the communist Chinese.  every one of them is also living on entitlement.  every word of hate they spew describes themselves.  they support communist dictators against the United States.  they do it for the money.  that's not patriotism; that's parasitism.  the toadies who support them are making the rope to hang their own families.  health care is the only reason any government has to exist.   economics 101:  you can't make money if the customer doesn't have any.  keep them healthy and well paid, and you won't have to lie, cheat and steal anymore.  affordable health care is the best investment you will ever make.  every dollar you send to China is destroying your own country.  Obama isn't your president or my president.  he's the president, and the only adult in the room.  call your family what you call his.  remember Jesus?  he said “Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.”  so, support healthcare, or stop calling yourself Christian..
Feb 20, 2013 8:51PM
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It's not just Obama.  It's all the dim-witted, and I do mean DIM -WITTED liberal geeks like Pelosi that are gonna take us all back to the glorious days of the great depression so we can all be miserable except the lazy, criminal, welfare pigs that are sucking the life right out of this country.  Hear this, all of you left-leaning Peking Men and women of stone age ignorance and stupidity, stand down or face the wrath of the intelligent, hard working, sensible citizens of this country who are not fooled by your illusion and have given our last penny to your lowlife constituents!!

Feb 20, 2013 8:51PM
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What most don't realize is that these companies can band together and form a large group to get insurance at a cheaper rate. 3 or 4 local companies with 50 employees for a total of 200 would get be able to negotiate a better group rate than a single company of 50 employees. Hell, maybe even all of the fast food restaurants in a city could group together and form a large buying group. Maybe not "Cadillac" coverage plans, but a basic plan that could be meet the employees needs. It just seems that there are ways to work with the system that don't involve cutting the income of the people who need it the most.
Feb 20, 2013 8:47PM
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“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name of Liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without knowing how it happened. I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democrat Party has adopted our platform.” - Norman Mattoon Thomas - (November 20, 1884 – December 19, 1968) - Six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America

Feb 20, 2013 8:45PM
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the problem is this: no matter what the number of hours is set for to qualify for health insurance you will have employers that try to reduce employee hours to be under that number. ie i bet you can see it at walmart and dunkin. this has nothing to do with employees; this is just about money in stockholder/ceo pocket.
Feb 20, 2013 8:44PM
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It should be $2,000 per month per employee
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500 hps-8 people under you that make more money than you? Why don't you demote yourself so you can make the same amount of money as they make. If they make more money than you , you must be crazy, lazy, or dumb.
Feb 20, 2013 8:43PM
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Damn now i can't eat at Dunkin or Baskin-Robbins. Looser companies who pay there employees' crap. Denny's, papa's johns, Dunkin, the list is getting longer and longer.
Feb 20, 2013 8:42PM
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Lets not forget the $400=$500 a month smokers penalty....
Feb 20, 2013 8:42PM
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I find it odd that people complain about the 1%ers, they complain about corporate greed, the complain about low pay for employees compared to extremely high pay for executives.

And in the same breath they complain about Obama's attempt to ensure that the average hard-working American can get the most basic level of insurance.

I guarantee you the companies like Dunkin' Donuts looking to cheat their employees out of insurance, making it corporate policy not to allow 30 hours a week, making shift changes to ensure unfair burden on workers, I assure you the executives of these companies are not going to go broke if they allow their employees to get insured. 

The level of base, short-sighted, "I gotta get mine"  greed in America is so pathetic. The country has devolved from a great nation built on innovation and sacrifice to a near lawless state of one for one, all for none barbarism. 

This is long past being about "Liberals" vs. "Conservatives". America has become completely devoid of the very basic ideas of national unity and human decency. 

The popularity of the show "The Walking Dead" is ironic as that what comes to mind in reading this article and the top comments. 
Feb 20, 2013 8:42PM
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I read a lot of obama bashing going on in this post - YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE TO CHANGE THE COURSE OF THIS COUNTRY THIS PAST NOVEMBER, THE MAJORITY OF HARD WORKING AMERICANS WHO DEPEND ON THEMSELVES TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES DID NOT VOTE. INSTEAD THE 47% PLUS THE LIBERAL PROGRESSIVES VOTED FOR MORE AND LARGER GOVERNMENT. Mitt Romney received 5 or fewer votes in hundreds of election precincts across the US, in some cases obama won by 100+% - OBAMA RECEIVED MORE VOTES IN SOME PRECINCTS THEN THERE WAS REGISTERED VOTERS.

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