The shipping giant will no longer extend health insurance to the husbands and wives of employees, if those spouses are employed and are eligible to receive health insurance from their employers. The move will affect about 15,000 UPS employees, Bloomberg notes.
The company said it is making the change to lower costs in advance of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, promoted by President Barack Obama. Under the new law, businesses with more than 50 employees must offer health insurance coverage to full-time workers.
In a memo to employees, the shipper explained that “limiting plan eligibility is one way to manage ongoing health care costs.”
UPS will still extend health coverage to the spouses of employees who do not receive insurance from another employer.
An insurance expert noted that UPS may be the first large company to drop coverage for employed spouses, but that others would likely follow its lead.
Last month, the administration delayed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for businesses, which will not be required to comply with its requirements until 2015.
Shares of UPS gained modestly in Thursday morning trading.