AOL Cuts 401k Benefits, Blames Sick Babies

AOL Cuts 401k Benefits, Blames Sick Babies

No matter what the issue is, the rubric of the week is to blame Obamacare. Our newest player is AOL. The company blames their decision to cut 401k matching contributions by only making them at the end of the year for employees still employed on that date on...health care costs.

ThinkProgress:

“We had two AOL-ers that had distressed babies that were born that we paid a million dollars each to make sure those babies were OK in general,” Armstrong said. “And those are the things that add up into our benefits cost. So when we had the final decision about what benefits to cut because of the increased healthcare costs, we made the decision, and I made the decision, to basically change the 401(k) plan.” Under the new program, AOL employeeswill not be able to collect any matching funds toward their retirement savings from the company for any given year if they leave before Dec. 31 of that year.

But health care experts ThinkProgress contacted questioned why a large self-insured company with more than 5,000 employees could not absorb the additional health care costs associated with the pregnancies. Large employers typically purchase reinsurance, which could cover a substantial share of big claims and ensure stability in cases of larger-than expected medical payouts.

“The Affordable Care Act is simply a convenient whipping boy for any decision an employer makes to cut benefits,” Tim Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee, said. “Assuming AOL had reasonably generous coverage like most large employers, it should not have experienced any significant changes in its benefit structure for 2014. Perhaps it had to pick up a few more employees that had not been covered before or reduce premiums for a few employees, but it is hard to see $7.1 million here.”

Gotcha, AOL. Choose to have babies and encounter difficulties, expect your choice to slap all your coworkers upside the head. Your decisions suck as much as your service does.


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