KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Home Depot Will Send Part-Timers To Health Insurance Exchanges

The giant home improvement chain said it will send almost 20,000 part-time employees to the health law's online marketplaces for insurance. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that small businesses are racing to renew their health policies before year's end to avoid having to comply with the health law's requirements, which take effect Jan. 1.

The Wall Street Journal: Home Depot Alters Insurance For Part-Timers
Home Depot Inc. plans to end health care coverage for almost 20,000 part-time employees, instead directing them to government-sponsored insurance exchanges. The Affordable Care Act -- President Barack Obama's health care overhaul -- precludes the company from offering the limited-liability plans that part-time workers currently receive, said spokesman Stephen Holmes. The change will affect nearly 20,000 people, which is about 5 percent of the company's work force, Mr. Holmes said (Beckerman, 9/19).

Reuters: Home Depot To Tap Health Insurance Exchanges For Part-Timers
Home Depot Inc is shifting medical coverage for part-time workers to new public marketplace exchanges ahead of new benefits requirements under the U.S. Affordable Care Act, a spokesman said on Thursday. The world's largest home improvement retail chain announced its move shortly after a similar announcement from Trader Joe's Co, a popular privately held grocery chain (9/19).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Small Businesses Rush To Renew Health Policies In 2013, Avoid Higher Prices Under ACA
Many small businesses have found a way to temporarily sidestep some of the headaches brought on by the new health care law. One of them is Huber Capital Management. The asset management firm is renewing its health insurance policy early, in 2013 instead of 2014. By renewing its policy this year, the company doesn't have to buy insurance that conforms to the requirements of the new health care law. And it won’t have the surge in premium rates expected under the Affordable Care Act (9/19).

Related, from KHN: FAQ: How Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Is Changing (Hancock, 9/17)

Meanwhile, a group of GOP senators urges OMB not to exempt union-sponsored health plans from the health law --

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Senators' Plea To OMB: No Carve Out For Union Health Plans
Adding insult to injury? A group of 21 Republican senators urged the Office of Management and Budget not to approve any regulations that would provide a special "carve out" to union-sponsored health plans under the Affordable Care Act. In a blow for unions, the White House already said late Friday that it can’t legally make the primary change unions want to the new health-care law. For months, unions have been warning that the law could cause millions of their members who get health insurance under multiemployer plans to lose their coverage (Trottman, 9/19).

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