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Trader Joe's Is Cutting Insurance For Part Time Employees

Photo by Dennis S Hurd on Flickr
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Looks like some of Trader Joe's crew members might be ready to throw their captain overboard right about now. The home-grown chain, which started here in SoCal in 1958, has decided to cut their health insurance offerings to their part time employees.

The nautical-themed grocer, which originally was launched as a convenience store competitor to 7-11 called Pronto Markets, has traditionally offered workers health insurance plans. But now they're cutting those out and giving employees a $500 stipend to help them pay for packages under Obamacare.

Under Obamacare aka the Affordable Care Act, companies with at least 50 workers are required to offer health coverage to employees who log 30 hours or more per week. Trader Joe's used to offer employees working less than 30 hours per week company-based coverage, but those offerings for part-timers are long gone.

In a piece in HuffPo, Trader Joe's responded to the the outcry from the public and their employees, saying that the majority of their employees would be better off with this new plan. They say that only folks who wouldn't fare well are those who have spouses and joint incomes that are higher than their own.

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Says HuffPo:

People who have additional income from their spouses or other jobs will see more modest subsidies or perhaps no subsidies at all. In that case, they'll lose their Trader Joe's coverage and find only more costly alternatives on their own. The company offered an extreme case -- a worker whose spouse earns $200,000 -- while, in reality, a family earning a good deal less than that may lose out on Obamacare subsidies.

This is all concerning for many of the employees that worked at the grocer for their robust insurance offerings. And TJ's has also recently cut employees' retirement plans. Looks like there's trouble in tropical paradise.