Target Drops Health Care for Part-Timers

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Those workers will now be eligible to buy health insurance on the online marketplaces, possibly qualifying them for a federal subsidy.

If you don’t use it, you lose it: That’s part of how Target has framed its decision to eliminate health insurance for its part-time workforce.

Says a statement on the Target website:

The launch of health insurance marketplaces provides new options for health care coverage that we believe our part-time team members may prefer. In fact, by offering them insurance, we could actually disqualify many of them from being eligible for newly available subsidies that could reduce their overall health insurance expense.

In addition, the majority of our part-time team members who have been eligible for our health insurance coverage don’t enroll. Today, less than 10 percent of our total team member population participates in our part-time plan.

There’s no way to tell how many part-time Target employees will be losing the option of company-based health care on April 1 because of this decision. Target wouldn’t say how many of its estimated 361,000 workers are part time, when Bloomberg asked.

However, Obamacare gives those employees plenty of options, and Target will ease the transition with a $500 payment to each employee bumped from the plan.

The news was met with anger from workers’ rights advocates. Forbes reported remarks by Carrie Gleason, executive director of the Retail Action Project, an activist group that has protested labor practices at Walmart and other companies: “Major employers like Target should not be looking to taxpayers to subsidize an employee benefit they can more than afford to pay.”

We’ve written before about how low pay in some industries puts a big burden on taxpayers.

The Home Depot, Trader Joe’s, and Forever 21 are some of the other retail giants that have cut health care benefits for employees in response to the Affordable Care Act.

What do you think? Is Target doing its part-time workers a favor by making them eligible to buy insurance on the marketplaces, where they’ll likely qualify for a federal subsidy to help pay premiums? You can’t get the subsidy unless you buy your health insurance there. Let us know below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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