UPS dropping coverage for spouses over ObamaCare costs - KMSP-TV

UPS dropping coverage for spouses over ObamaCare costs

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Republican lawmakers are raising new concerns about ObamaCare after several large employers announced they are dropping health coverage for some employee spouses due to rising costs under the new law.

Both the University of Virginia and UPS told their employees recently they are no longer offering spousal coverage to those able to obtain insurance elsewhere; meaning thousands of Americans will no longer be able to choose the benefits they prefer.

UVA said Wednesday this is only one of many "major changes" coming to their health plans as a result of ObamaCare. The university says the changes are necessary because the law is projected to add $7.3 million to the cost of the university's health plan in 2014 alone.

"The modified plan will provide new options and reward those who participate in wellness programs," UVA's Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Susan Carkeek said in a press release. "But we must make adjustments or face millions of dollars in rising costs, fees and taxes that would be passed along to employees."

Similarly, UPS partially blamed the new health law for the change, which is estimated to affect roughly 15,000 employee spouses.

The rising cost of health care "combined with the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, have made it increasingly difficult to continue providing the same level of health care benefits to our employees at an affordable cost," UPS said.

The trend has drawn the ire of Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who cite it as a clear example the Obama administration is not following through on its promise that, "if you like your plan, you can keep it."

"American families who are already grappling with higher health care costs under the law are also coming face-to-face with the stark reality that they will lose the coverage they have and like," their office said in a statement Wednesday.

The Obama administration would not respond when asked for comment on the UPS' new policy by Kaiser Health News, but said when Massachusetts implemented a similar health overhaul, employer coverage actually increased.

"The health care law will make health insurance more affordable, strengthen small businesses and make it easier for employers to provide coverage to their workers," said Joanne Peters, spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Republican lawmakers say this trend is only one of the concerning effects of ObamaCare, amid reports some companies are citing the law when they reduce employees to part-time hours.

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