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UPS to cut health benefits for U.S. nonunion employees' spouses, blames Obama's health-care law

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DALLAS (AP) -- United Parcel Service Inc. is ending health-insurance benefits for U.S. nonunion employees' spouses who can get coverage elsewhere. It blames the change on the new health-care law.

UPS estimates that 15,000 of the 33,000 spouses it covers can get insurance from their own employer and will be dropped from the UPS plan.

The worldwide parcel-delivery company says it's just going with the crowd. In a memo to employees, UPS cited a study by a benefits consultant who estimated that next year about 35 percent of companies will exclude working spouses who can get insurance from their own employers.

UPS cited the 2010 health care law promoted by President Barack Obama for the change. The company said that it considered letting employees pay extra to cover their working spouses but decided that would be difficult to do.

"Since the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide affordable coverage, we believe your spouse should be covered by their own employer - just as UPS has a responsibility to offer coverage to you," the company said in a memo to employees.

Andy McGowan, a UPS spokesman, said the change was part of the company's effort to keep health-insurance premiums at or below current levels for a "significant" number of employees. He said the company's premiums have risen sharply in recent years.

UPS told employees that spouses will no longer be eligible for physical and mental health benefits and prescription-drug coverage. "However, you may enroll her in dental, vision and supplemental benefits such as life insurance" even if the spouse's employer provides those, UPS said in the memo.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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