Add The Home Depot to the list of companies dumping part-time employees onto ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges — and taxpayers’ backs. According to the Daily Caller, the Georgia-based retailer announced that it is dropping health coverage for approximately 20,000 part-timers as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Unfortunately, the ACA precludes us from offering the limited liability medical plan we’ve been offering the part-time associates,” Home Depot’s director of corporate communications, Stephen Holmes, told the conservative website.
Like many other companies, Home Depot currently offers a low-cost health plan with limited benefits to its part-time employees. Such plans, however, are prohibited under ObamaCare, which requires employers to offer unlimited coverage with numerous mandated benefits and shoulder most of the cost of that coverage. In addition, the ACA requires employers to offer such coverage to all employees working at least 30 hours per week. Thus, the law simultaneously bans plans that both employers and employees could afford and forces employers to cover more people at a higher cost, giving them a great incentive to cover only those employees they absolutely must.
Those Americans who lose employer-based coverage are not permitted simply to go without insurance, however. The ACA mandates that individuals who do not have coverage through their employers purchase it on a government-run insurance exchange, which “requires people to buy insurance for a government-designed set of health-care services, including services promoted by corporate lobbies,” notes the Daily Caller. “The insurance packages can be more expensive than sought by workers, especially younger workers, but the extra costs are partially offset by subsidies from other taxpayers.”
With Home Depot’s announcement, taxpayers will now be burdened with subsidizing coverage for an additional 20,000 or so people. (The company declined to state an exact figure.) This is on top of the thousands of others being dumped onto the exchanges by employers such as Wegmans supermarkets and Universal Studios Orlando. Other companies, such as Walmart, are refusing to cover new part-time workers, while still others are restricting employees’ hours to avoid having to cover them at great expense. These individuals, too, will be seeking out subsidized coverage next year.
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Photo of Home Depot store: AP Images