United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) has announced its employees will be having some major health insurance changes. The changes include ending coverage for spouses of employees, according to reports. UPS has decided to drop health benefits for 15,000 of its employees’ spouses may be a sign that it could become commonplace.
The fourth largest employer in the country said it will no longer offer health coverage to employee spouses as of Jan. 1, provided that those spouses can get insurance through another company. UPS pointed to the 2010 health care law as part of its reasoning, with their thoughts that it could increase costs and spouses could be provided with other insurance options.
Some look at UPS’s change as a sign that corporate America is willing to make major changes to the benefits that were once taken for granted by employees. The health care overhaul, which is estimated to result in an increase of business expenses from 2 to 4 percent next year, has resulted in many companies switching to insurance plans that have higher deductibles and surcharges for dependents.
According to a memo from Kaiser Health News, the changes will only impact UPS employees in the U.S. Spouses who do not have employment that offers health insurance, or who don’t work at all, will still have access to insurance through their spouse who is employed at UPS. Workers’ children will still be covered, according to the memo. UPS is based in Atlanta, Ga., and has more than 250,000 Teamsters members or workers in other countries who will not experience any health benefits changes.
In the memo, UPS indicates, “Since the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide affordable coverage, we believe your spouse should be covered by their own employer — just as UPS has a responsibility to offer coverage to you, our employee. Limiting plan eligibility is one way to manage ongoing healthcare costs.”
A Kaiser Family Foundation study released earlier this week reported that health insurance cost increased by 4 percent this year, which is less than it has in the last two years. However, companies are attempting to find ways to cut medical bills, which are increasing faster than inflation.
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