Report: Trader Joe's to drop health coverage for part-time workers

Specialty grocery chain Trader Joe's will no longer provide healthcare coverage to part-time workers and will instead point them toward ObamaCare's new insurance exchanges, according to a report

The company, which provides some of the most generous worker benefits in the industry, told staff last month that those working fewer than 30 hours per week will no longer be eligible for healthcare coverage. 

Trader Joe's CEO Dan Bane reportedly promised part-time workers a $500 check next year and help understanding their new coverage options under ObamaCare. 


"We believe that with the $500 from Trader Joe's and the tax credits available under the [Affordable Care Act], many of you should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little if any net cost to you," Bane wrote in a staff memo dated Aug. 30.

Under the Affordable Care Act, individuals making up to $45,960 (or $94,200 for a family of four) will be eligible for tax subsidies to help make healthcare coverage more affordable.

Buying nonemployer coverage will take place on ObamaCare's new insurance exchanges, which will open for enrollment Oct. 1 and allow consumers to comparison shop for healthcare plans that suit their needs.

Supporters of the law say the new system will help low-income workers and offer affordable options.

But announcements like the one from Trader Joe's fuel criticism of the law from those who believe it will encourage companies to drop employee healthcare benefits and shift workers into the new exchanges. 

Trader Joe's is not the first grocery chain to make this move. Wegmans supermarkets reportedly cut health coverage for part-time workers earlier this year. 

Employers will be required to offer healthcare coverage to workers that put in 30 hours or more per week starting in 2015.