Tags: ups | health | benefits | spouses

UPS: Health Benefits for Workers' Spouses Getting Cut Next Year

Thursday, 22 Aug 2013 05:40 PM

By David Ogul

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UPS, laying part of the blame on Obamacare, says it will dump health benefits for several thousand workers' spouses, but only if they are afforded benefits elsewhere.

Increased health insurance costs, “combined with the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, have made it increasingly difficult to continue providing the same level of health care benefits to our employees at an affordable cost,” read a United Parcel Service memo sent to employees.

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The company says the 15,000 working spouses of UPS employees who can get coverage through their own employers will no longer be eligible for UPS medical benefits next year. The move is expected to save about $60 million annually, USA Today said.

Many are downplaying the impact that Obamacare had on the decision, noting that companies for years have been paring back benefits and raising deductibles. Some had already begun excluding working spouses. Other companies have begun charging higher premiums to working spouses of UPS employees.

Kaiser Health News says 4 percent of large employers surveyed by consultants Towers Watson this year exclude working spouses from company health plans. Eight percent planned to make the change for 2014.

Employee-funded health insurance was standard fare a half century ago when it was common for wives to stay at home. Kaiser Health News noted that companies and municipalities across the country are now using various methods to discourage adding working spouses to health plans. Anacortes, a town in the state of Washington, for example, pays employees a bonus if spouses can get insurance from their own employer. Xerox charges a $1,000 penalty to employees who enroll a working spouse.

Kaiser Health News obtained a UPS memo that lays part of the blame for its decision on Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act, UPS spokesman Andy McGowan said, is “one of the reasons that UPS is implementing the changes.”

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