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Businesses Gear Up For Obama Health Care Law

Spousal Benefits, Work Hours Being Cut

CBS New York (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSNewYork.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSNewYork.com/Health

New York (CBSNewYork) – Several major employers are making adjustments ahead of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.

This week, UPS announced it will cut coverage for 15,000 employee spouses who can buy insurance from their own jobs. The move could save the delivery giant $60 million a year, money UPS says could “offset increases due to the Affordable Care Act.”

“We’re finding a lot of employers who are taking actions similar to this, because of the upward pressure on health care costs in general as well as the added fees associated with the Affordable Care Act,” said Rich Fuerstenberg, a senior partner with the benefits consultant Mercer.

The law requires health coverage for most people working 30 hours a week. Recently, clothing retailer Forever 21 announced it was cutting hours for several hundred employeeds to 29.5 hours a week. The company denies it’s trying to get around Obama’s health care mandate, set to take effect in 2015.

But Paul Howard, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, said there’s no denying the Affordable Care Act has businesses considering their options.

“Employers have a big incentive, at least some firms, to shift people into part-time work, hold down the number of people they’re hiring, and outsource all types of work,” Howard said.

While standing in a long line at a jobs fair, Alex Dore told Aiello that he’s worried about finding a job with health benefits.

“Businesses are always looking for the cheap way out, anything that’s going to help them save a dollar or two,” Dore said.

The White House said it sees “no systematic evidence” that the health care law is impacting job growth or the number of hours employees are working.

However, in June, only 9 percent of employers surveyed by Gallup predicted the overhaul would be good for business.

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