Trader Joe’s to cut health benefits for part-time workers

 Trader Joe's in Philadelphia is located at 2121 Market St. (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

Trader Joe's in Philadelphia is located at 2121 Market St. (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

A famously generous employer is cutting health benefits for some of its workers. Trader Joe’s told employees it will stop offering health insurance to part-time workers in January. The company suggests they turn to new options created by Obamacare.

The undisputed winner in this is Trader Joe’s.

The company told employees it will offer $500 stipends to put toward their purchase of personal health insurance; on the whole, however, the company will probably contribute less for the health care of its employees.

Trader Joe’s has advised employees to browse the health-care exchanges established as part of the Affordable Care Act. The online marketplaces offer a place where people can shop for plans or access subsidized options.

For the employees, those outcomes could be hit or miss. Paul Van de Water from the Center on Budget and Policy.

“While it’s likely that some employees may be disadvantaged,” said Paul Van de Water from the Center on Budget and Policy, if their total household income does not qualify them for any subsidies.

“But it’s also quite possible that many, if not most, of the employees may actually end up better off — or at least no worse off — because they will be able to receive subsidies through the exchanges,” he said.

A Trader Joe’s representative couldn’t be reached for comment, but the Huffington Post obtained a memo saying that the changes will apply to employees working under 30 hours a week.

The grocery chain also recently reduced its pension contributions.

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