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Target Cuts Health Care Benefits for Part-time Employees

Target has joined the likes of other high-profile retailers to cut health care benefits for part-time employees, citing both low employee participation and “health care reform” in a letter posted on its website.

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The Minnesota-based discount chain joins Home Depot, Trader Joe’s, Forever 21 and other large retailers in ending health insurance coverage for part-time staff as the Affordable Care Act, commonly dubbed Obamacare, comes into effect per Forbes.

Companies such as Walmart, started cutting health care benefits for part-time workers long before Obamacare’s January 1st launch date; the Bentonville, Ark. Low-price giant stopped health coverage for those working less than 24 hours a week in 2011. (Walmart surprised critics by announcing 35,00 part-time staff would be elevated to full-time status last fall, making them eligible to receive benefits.

Target’s head of HR Jodee Kozlak announced on Tuesday that fewer than 10 percent of the chain’s workers are currently enrolled in the company’s part-time health plan, which is available for any employee working under 30 hours weekly.

The launch of Health Insurance Marketplaces provides new options for health care coverage that we believe our part-time team members may prefer,” Kozlak wrote, adding that each part-timer will be eligible for a $500 cash payment from Target.

“In fact, by offering them insurance, we could actually disqualify many of them from being eligible for newly available subsidies that could reduce their overall health insurance expense.”

Target’s Kozlak assured employees that there is no plan to cap worker’s hours, writing: “At any time, our team members can talk to their manager about their interest and availability to work more hours. In fact, during the holiday season we offered our year-round part time and full time team members the opportunity to take on additional hours or cross-train to work in other areas — at their request.”