Home Depot to tap health insurance exchanges for part-timers

Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:07pm EDT

1 of 2. A sign outside The Home Depot store is pictured in Monrovia, California in this August 13, 2012 file photo.

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(Reuters) - Home Depot Inc is shifting medical coverage for part-time workers to new public marketplace exchanges ahead of new benefits requirements under the U.S. Affordable Care Act, a spokesman said on Thursday.

The world's largest home improvement retail chain announced its move shortly after a similar announcement from Trader Joe's Co, a popular privately held grocery chain.

Home Depot's change would affect roughly 20,000 part-time workers who previously had chosen the limited liability medical plan the company offered, spokesman Stephen Holmes said.

After December 31, companies can no longer offer those plans under the health law, also known as Obamacare.

"We're going to shift them over to the public exchanges, where there are more options," Holmes said.

The public exchanges being set up under the law will allow individuals to buy government-subsidized healthcare based on income. Enrollment begins on October 1.

Until now, many restaurants and retailers offered workers limited liability plans that often provided less than $5,000 in coverage.

Home Depot's plans for part-time workers provided coverage of up to $20,000 depending on the plan and were administered by Aetna Inc.

Experts have said exchanges would provide more comprehensive coverage that may not cost more because government tax credits will help some workers offset premiums.

Some employers are opting to offer coverage through private health insurance changes.

Walgreen Co, the largest U.S. drugstore, and more than a dozen other large employers have said they would offer their employee insurance for 2014 through the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange.

Home Depot employs about 340,000 people and will continue to offer healthcare benefits to full-time employees, who will be paying more for that coverage next year due to higher healthcare costs, Holmes said.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by David Gregorio and Tim Dobbyn)

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Comments (4)
Rich_F wrote:
this is going to be the mother of all entitlements in no time. amazing how politicians like obama can lie with a straight face saying this will cost practically nothing over 10 years LOL. this would be hilarious if it wasn’t so serious in further impoverishing and thereby destroying this republic. just sit back and watch the government costs skyrocket because of this ill-conceived, poorly structured boondoggle. what an embarrassment to the obama administration. hey at least it’ll always be tagged with obama’s name so everyone will know who to blame.

Sep 19, 2013 11:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jrj906202 wrote:
Rich-F is correct.The only other possibility,would be major rationing of care.Rationing will be the final result,of Obamacare,after the costs of the program sky rocket.Rich-F is also right about Obama getting the blame,for this fiasco.That’s the good part.The real solution,to our health care crisis,would be to encourage/incentivize Americans to change their lifestyles,so they wouldn’t need to use as much health care.I guess that’s not politically correct.You can’t blame people for being obese.After all,obesity is a disease and anyway,it’s the rich that forced them to eat junk food and not exercise.

Sep 20, 2013 11:13am EDT  --  Report as abuse
dencal26 wrote:
We are SCREWED

Sep 20, 2013 4:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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