Home Depot Moves 20,000 Part-Timers To Insurance Exchanges

Home Depot (NYSE:HD) will shift roughly 20,000 part-time workers to public insurance exchanges from a company-offered limited liability medical plan, Reuters reported on Friday (Sept. 20).

Companies can no longer offer limited liability medical plans after Dec. 31 under new benefits requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Home Depot's limited plans for part-time workers, which were administered by Aetna, provided coverage of up to $20,000, depending on the plan. The world's largest home-improvement chain will continue to offer healthcare benefits to full-time employees, but they will be paying more for that coverage next year due to higher healthcare costs, a company spokesperson said. Home Depot employs 340,000 people.

The announcement came days after Trader Joe's announced it would be shifting its part-time employees working less than 30 hours a week to public insurance exchanges, and Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) announced it will shift all eligible employees to a private insurance exchange run by Aon Hewitt.

In both those cases, the retailers made it a point to explain how the shifts would affect employees. Walgreens, for example, emphasized that it will provide a fixed contribution and employees will be able to choose from among several plans, including some more expensive, some less expensive and some roughly the same as their current coverage. Trader Joe's underscored that many part-time workers will be eligible for tax credits that will help offset the cost of premiums.

There may be no exact match for the old Home Depot medical plan for part-timers. However, Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes told Reuters that "there are more options" in the public exchanges for the affected employees.

For more:

- See this Reuters story

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Let's Talk About Retailers And Health Insurance
Walgreens Shifts 180,000 Employees To Health Exchange
Trader Joe's Does The Math On Part-Timer Insurance Cuts