With Obamacare (the Affordable Health Care Act) set to begin on October 1, many companies are changing their employee health care. For some, it’s a change in what benefits employees will receive; for others, employees will be losing health care all together and told to sign up under Obamacare.
The Wall Street Journal did a “round-up” of companies who’ve announced changes. Walgreens is the largest employer yet to disclose employee health care changes.
[T]he drugstore giant disclosed a plan to provide payments to eligible employees for the subsidized purchase of insurance starting in 2014. The plan will affect roughly 160,000 employees, and will require them to shop for coverage on a private health-insurance marketplace. Aside from rising health-care costs, the company cited compliance-related expenses associated with the new law as a reason for the switch.
According to The Wall Street Journal, IBM and Time-Warner are making plans to move retirees from company plans to private health care plans. Sears and Darden Restaurants (which owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster, among others) will be discontinuing health care for current employees and sending them to private plans. United Parcel Post will end insurance for the spouses of employees who are able to receive insurance from their own employers.
Other employers, such as Home Depot and Trader Joe’s, will no longer offer health care benefits to their part-time employees.
There has been talk that Obamacare is to be President Obama’s “legacy:”
With Congress engaged in a bitter feud over funding the 2010 law, worries over benefits offer Republicans yet another line of attack, said Stephen Hess, a presidential scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington, in a telephone interview.
“It has to be bad news for Obama,” Hess said. “Working out a successful health-care system has to be his legacy.”
A National Journal analysis questions how “affordable” the Affordable Care Act will actually be:
The cost of care in the new market doesn’t stack up. A single wage earner must make less than $20,000 to see his or her current premiums drop or stay the same under Obamacare, an independent review by National Journal found. That’s equivalent to approximately 34 percent of all single workers in the U.S. seeing any benefit in the new system. For those seeking family-of-four coverage under the ACA, about 43 percent will see cost savings. Families must earn less than or equal to $62,300, or they, too, will be looking at a bigger bill.
Those numbers include the generous tax subsidies designed to make the new system more attractive to consumers.
One thing is clear: Obamacare still isn’t very clear, for employeers or employees.