United Parcel Service is planning to drop 15,000 workers' spouses from its health insurance plan, citing higher costs due to Obamacare.
In an undated memo to employees, UPS said it will discontinue coverage for all working spouses who are eligible for insurance with their own employer. That applies to roughly half of the 33,000 worker spouses covered by UPS today.
The internal document was obtained by Kaiser Health News. UPS told the nonprofit news agency that the policy applies only to non-union U.S. workers. It hasn't responded to questions from CNNMoney.
Most of the company's workers, such as delivery workers and truck drivers, are unionized through the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and receive insurance under a different plan.
In the memo, UPS said it's willing to take care of its own, but it won't bear a burden that other companies can take on.
"We believe your spouse should be covered by their own employer -- just as UPS has a responsibility to offer coverage to you, our employee," the memo states.
UPS blamed the move on several aspects of Obamacare, including mandatory coverage for dependent children up to age 26 and new government fees.
"We are making these changes to offset cost increases due to the [Affordable Care Act]," the memo states. "This change is consistent with the way many large employers are responding to the costs associated with the Health Care Reform legislation."
In the memo UPS said it that its health care costs usually increase about 7% a year, but that it expects those costs to climb by 11.25% in 2014 due to Obamacare.
The company also said that 35% of companies intend to make the same changes to their plans, but didn't cite specific market data.
A recent survey by consulting firm Towers Watson found that next year, 18% of employers will require that workers' spouses buy insurance from their own employer.
Spouses of UPS employees who don't work -- or who are not offered coverage by their own employer -- will get to stay on the UPS plan.
UPS's move is the latest example of the corporate response to Obamacare, although the law won't begin to kick in until Jan. 1.
Employers are worried that premiums will rise. And they'll also be required to pay a fee for every person on their plans, starting at $63 a head next year.
The federal Department of Health and Human Services has said the fee would help with the transition as the American health care system accepts many new sick, previously uninsured people.
Insurance Agent Sandy Carpenter has owned her own agency for seven years. She says people need to do their research when it comes to understanding the new healthcare options.
"My advice for people is to look at their options, before October 1st because October 1st will be quite a day."
Carpenter urges people to make sure they explore all of their options, with multiple insurance companies.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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