When the Democrats wrote the 2,000 page tome officially titled Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more popularly labeled Obamacare, they defined full-time employees as those working 30 or more hours a week. Companies employing 50 or more workers would be forced to provide healthcare coverage for all full-time employees or face a fine of up to $2,000 per employee.
Some companies have realized that it is more economical for them to pay the $2,000 fine rather than spend upwards of $15,000 paying for healthcare coverage. It seems like a no brainer for many companies and consequently, millions of Americans will be losing their employer provided coverage within the next year.
Kroger, a Cincinnati based supermarket chain, is one of those companies that is considering paying the fines instead of coverage. They cite a report that says it costs a company an average of $4,664 for coverage of a single employee and over $11,000 for coverage for an employee and their family. Kroger has over 2,400 stores in 31 states and employs 339,000 people, many of which are already part-time workers.
David Dillon, CEO of Kroger said:
“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.”
“If [policy makers] get those things too far out of balance, everybody will have to reconsider their position on that point, including us, but we’re going to wait and see how that all develops.”
However, one company, Dunkin’ Brands is taking a different approach in the effort to save money. They are asking the Obama administration to re-define full-time employees as those working 40 or more hours per week. Based in Canton, Ohio, Dunkin’ Brands owns Dunkin’ Donuts, the world’s largest baked goods and coffee chains in the world with over 10,000 locations in 32 countries. In the US, they have over 7,000 locations in 36 states.
Over all, it seems that hundreds, perhaps thousands of employers are looking at either reducing workers’ hours to under the full-time definition or dropping health-coverage altogether. This is the exact opposite effect we were told would happen when Obamacare was passed. In the wake of the trend in the business world, it seems that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act should have been named, the Patient Ruination and Eliminating Care Act.