UPS (NYSE:UPS) — one of the largest employers in the United States and the world’s biggest parcel deliverer — plans to eliminate health benefits for approximately 15,000 working spouses of white-collar employees, according to a memorandum published by Kaiser Health News on Thursday. The motivation behind this change is “the rising cost of health care in general” and the new expenses brought on by the Affordable Care Act in particular. UPS reasoned that many spouses in the U.S. workforce will have access to employer-sponsored insurance mandated by the health care reform.
This announcement is similar to what opponents of Obamacare have been fearfully awaiting. But the full impact of the benefit cuts can only be speculated upon as the individual exchanges for purchasing private insurance are not scheduled to open until October 1 and, due to the delay implemented by the Obama administration, employer-sponsored health insurance is not mandatory until 2015. Furthermore, UPS will continue to cover spouses who either do not work, or work for employers that do not provide health care benefits, mitigating the severity of this policy change.