City changes benefits for some employees' spouses - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

City changes benefits for some employees' spouses

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The city of Providence sent a letter stating it will not provide primary coverage for some employees' spouses.

Instead, the city wants eligible spouses to get their health insurance from their own employer.

The city, however, said it will provide for secondary coverage only.

About 300 non-union employees received a letter dated Nov. 5 outlining the changes, including Margaret Wingate, the city's manager of employee benefits.

"My husband was aware and I explained to him. His employer is in Connecticut, and they weren't surprised by the request. I guess because it's fairly common," she said.

Shifting eligible spouses to their own employer's insurance will save Providence an estimated $2 million a year.

"Delaware's been doing it for close to two decades. Connecticut does it and there's not harm to employees of the city," said David Ortiz, the city's director of communications.

Despite the national healthcare conversation, Wingate says the change has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare.

"For those that don't work or don't have access to coverage, we will keep them on their plan. We're not trying to drop coverage for anyone here," Ortiz said.

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