Obamacare Impact: US Retail Giant Target Eliminates Health Coverage for Part-Time Workers

Friday, January 24, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Kate Randall
Global Research
January 24, 2014

Target has become the latest large retailer to eliminate health care benefits for its part-time workers. The Minnesota-based retail chain’s decision follows similar moves at Home Depot, Trader Joe’s and Forever 21. The move takes effect April 1.

In a statement on its web site, Target directly cites the launch of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as the main driver of its decision. Its move is one more indication that the implementation of the health care overhaul commonly known as Obamacare is undermining the employer-sponsored health care system in the US—the means by which the majority of the population receives health benefits.

Target cynically claims that the company is doing its part-time employees a favor by dropping their insurance, stating, “The launch of Health Insurance Marketplaces [ACA] provides new options for health care coverage that we believe our part-time team members may prefer.”

The retail giant claims that “by offering them insurance we could actually disqualify many of them from being eligible for newly available [ACA] subsidies that could reduce their overall health insurance expense.” The statement also notes that “less than 10 percent of our total team member population participates in our part-time plan,” arguing that the impact on the workforce will be minimal.

Target’s statements are disingenuous at best. While the company does not publicly reveal the cost structure of its present health plan for part-timers, the fact that only 10 percent of the Target workforce is presently enrolled in the plan suggests that it is unaffordable for workers, the majority of whom earn $15 an hour or less.

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