Northside Hospital to drop health coverage for employee spouses covered elsewhere

Northside Hospital has joined UPS as a large employer that will stop providing health benefits to the spouses of some employees, if those spouses can get coverage through their own jobs.

“This change allows us to continue to manage our benefit costs while providing competitive benefits to Northside employees,” Northside director of marketing and public relations Russ Davis said in a statement.

Northside, one of metro Atlanta’s top hospitals, did not specifically cite the impact of the Affordable Care Act in its decision.

In an August memo to its nonunion employees, UPS said, “This change is consistent with the way many large employers are responding to the costs associated with the health care reform legislation.”

Northside has about 10,000 employees in its health system. Davis said the hospital could not provide the number of people affected because its open enrollment process won’t be completed until the end of November.

The hospital did point to a national survey of employers that it said showed two-thirds planned to restrict coverage for spouses next year.

The hospital expects to have additional employees enroll in its plans next year, as some who have been obtaining coverage under their spouses’ plans start getting their benefits from Northside.

Davis said, “We are not dropping spousal coverage for spouses that need coverage. We are requiring spouses who have access to coverage with their employer to participate in their own company-sponsored insurance plan. “

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