By Written by Matthew Daneman, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Wegmans Food Markets Inc., one of the area's largest employers, is cutting back on its health-care coverage for part-time employees.
Citing changes in federal health care regulations, the Chili-based grocery chain said it no longer will offer health benefits for employees working fewer than 30 hours a week. The benefits change does not happen until 2015.
"Even though the new health care law is requiring some changes, we are not going to do anything that will hurt our employees," Wegmans spokeswoman Jo Natale said in a statement Thursday. "We have met one-on-one with each impacted employee to reassure them and to let them know we are going to do everything we can to help them through these changes. Our proudest achievement has been our inclusion in Fortune's '100 Best Companies' list. We are there because we care deeply about our employees."
Sharon Brognia, a benefits consultant with the Rochester office of Gallagher Benefit Services Inc., said 30 hours could very well become the cutoff point for many employers that provide health coverage to part timers. Federal "Obamacare" rules that go into effect in 2015 require that all employers provide coverage to employees working 30 or more hours a week.
Not offering coverage could actually be in the best interests of employees working fewer than 30 hours a week, Brognia said, as such employees wouldn't be eligible for federal subsidies on their health care costs if their workplaces offer coverage.