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Target scales back on health coverage

NEW YORK — Target Corp. says it will no longer be offering health care coverage for its part-time workers.

The discounter is citing new options now available through health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.

Target, based in Minneapolis, said the majority of its part-time workers who have been eligible for its health care insurance coverage don’t enroll. In fact, less than 10 percent of its total employees of 361,000 take advantage of the part-time plan. It said it will stop covering the part-time workers beginning April 1.

Other large employers including UPS are scaling back health coverage by dropping spouses from their employee plans if they are able to get insurance through another employer.

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‘‘Health care reform is transforming the benefits landscape and affecting how all employers, including Target, administer health benefits coverage,’’ Jodee Kozlack, Target’s executive vice president of human resources, said in a corporate blog post Tuesday.

Target said in the post that by offering its part-time workers insurance, it could actually disqualify many of them from new subsidies that could reduce their overall health insurance expenses.

Target says part-time workers who are enrolled in the health care plan and are losing coverage will be given a $500 cash payment.

Target said that employees who average between 20 and 31 hours per week will continue to be eligible for other benefits, including vacation, dental, disability, and life insurance. Its part-time employees also will still qualify for store discounts and its 401(k) plan.

Separately, Target said Wednesday that it was laying off 475 employees across the company’s operations. It also said that over the past six months it has closed about 700 open positions across the entire chain.

Associated Press