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 2:07PM
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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 1:45PM
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Some things never change... Government is the problem, not the solution.
Feb 20, 2013 2:46PM
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Man, is this a great country or what? You don't have to work...food stamps, subsidized housing, reduced utilities or at no cost, you don't even need any papers.

 

 Illegally here? No problem...so what? You still get free health care...go to any ER or free clinic. Why work...just live off the backs of those that are working and paying for your free ride. Vote those workers out of office if they won't come up with more give aways.

 

Sheeshh.....

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when obama gets done with us...there be nothing left..
Feb 20, 2013 2:52PM
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The worst was when Nancy Pelosi said that "we needed to pass ObamaCare  in order to see what it was all about."  Are you kidding me?
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 2:40PM
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As businesses try to beat the system by limiting the number of employees, asking for a re-definition of fulltime workers, etc,, Obama will just keep piling more and more onto their backs.  Emperor Obama will preside over the "fall of the United States".  He obviously didn't participate in the "rise of the United States".  He won't be satisfied until everybody has the same amount of everything which in the end will be NOTHING.
Feb 20, 2013 2:54PM
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What a great health care bill, now millions of people, not only do not have health care,now thier hours are being cut back so they have less income. Way to go FEDs !!!! Another great program that wrecks america.
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 2:57PM
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For those of you that voted that socialist communist in I really hope your happy with what you have done. But my feeling is in a short time you all will be crying and saying what have we done. Sorry than it will be too late to turn it around. You wanted change well welcome to it!
Feb 20, 2013 2:45PM
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And yet, unions are asking to be exempted from obamacare...
Feb 20, 2013 2:35PM
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Who knew!!! I thought it was FREE??? I'm OUTRAGED!
Feb 20, 2013 2:42PM
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Once you employee a couple people....you'll better understand the economics of Obamacare. Dunkin Donuts and delivering pizzas should be a part-time job for those still in school or at home (Remember, management at those locations DO pay benefits). Selling donuts over the counter should NOT be a career choice!!!!

 

BTW: I employee 100 people and already provide better coverage than required and have calculated I could save $250K per year by simply paying the penalty (but I won't)........I also have 8 people working for me that make MORE money than I do!!!!

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 2:40PM
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Looks like businesses will counter with offering employees less hours. Many people will have to work two jobs in order to make up the difference.
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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 2:41PM
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Not exactly related but ....

 

I would like to see the Obamacare exemption list,  Name of company/group and the number of people.

 

Who can get out of it, and why.

 

If anyone knows where a list can be obtained please let me know.

Feb 20, 2013 2:51PM
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Small businesses are going to keep the amount of employees down and small buiness accounts for 65 % of the new jobs, so the jobless rate will increase the only the jobless rate is down now is because people are running out benifits! not because there are more jobs. This economy is going to stall again in the next twelve months and obama care , borrowing more money , and supporting illegals is going to bring this country down. God help america because our leaders aren't!!!!!!
Feb 20, 2013 2:51PM
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Obamacare is great for those on aid, muslim religion, and the american Indian which I will defend it was their country first all free for them on the other hand. The average worker is screwed my husband brought home the price for a family not including him his is free one wife one child $1,200 a month out of his check we have a separate policy only pay $579 every other month no prescription and a $10,000 hospital deductable our goverment is trying to force us all into poverty quit punishing working class citizens. Figure it  out washington people don't want to work why should they free housing, free phone, free food more than working family receives, free medical care, free schooling  and they still complain and demand more please stop their madness they and you  are ruining our country
Feb 20, 2013 2:49PM
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And why is Dunkin Donuts not lobbying the insurers that are ripping them off?
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