“We have decided to discontinue part-time health insurance coverage for our stores’ part-time team members, beginning April 1, 2014.”
And with that, Target became the latest major retailer to cut part-time employees loose and send them off to the exchanges.
“Our decision to discontinue this benefit comes after careful consideration of the impact to our stores’ part-time team members and to Target, the new options available for our part-time team, and the historically low number of team members who elected to enroll in the part-time plan,” wrote Jodee Kozlak, Target’s executive vice president of HR, on the official company blog.
“First, to help offset the inconvenience of this transition, Target will provide U.S. stores’ part-time team members who are currently enrolled in Target’s health coverage and who are losing access to that coverage a $500 cash payment,” Kozlak wrote. “Second, we have partnered with a highly respected company that has extensive benefits expertise and asked them to develop a personalized approach to provide one-on-one support to every affected team member. This includes sharing information that is customized to each team member about what insurance is available to them, the differences between plans and their impact, any off-sets available to the team member, and ultimately walking them through every step of the sign-up process.”
You would think the timing couldn’t be worse for the beleaguered discount retailer. But, on the contrary, it looks like their ongoing issues with data security have overshadowed this latest development. Either that or the general public has become so numb to these large employers shedding health benefits – WalMart, UPS, Trader Joe’s – that it’s not worth the headlines anymore. At least they’re not cutting hours, or workers.
As Kozlak points out elsewhere in the blog post, because of how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is structured, the company (and its employees) are actually better off because now those same part-time workers can qualify for subsidies to just buy their own insurance. Everybody wins. Except taxpayers.
And, as a follow-up to my confession last week, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your kind words and thoughts. It’s been nothing short of overwhelming.
I didn’t set out to champion a cause or “be brave.” God knows I’m no role model. I only wanted to work through my own pain and confusion as I frantically looked for a way out of the darkness. I had no idea I’d find so much company.
Thank you. And I’ll keep you posted.