You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Kroger drops health coverage of working spouses

Add The Kroger Co. to the list of major area employers that have stopped providing health insurance coverage to employees’ spouses who are eligible for insurance through their employers.

Kroger will continue to cover spouses who do not have access to a health plan, or don’t have access to a health plan that is compliant with federal health reform, said Jennifer Lien, spokeswoman for the Cincinnati-based grocery company.

The change affects employees of Kroger’s 108 Cincinnati/Dayton Division stores, which includes stores in Springfield and Butler County. A total approximately 17,700 local workers are covered by a new merged labor contract approved Tuesday by voting union members, in which the changes to the health plan were spelled out.

“We will continue to provide health coverage for current eligible spouses if they don’t have coverage through their own employment,” Lien said.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75 represents Kroger store employees in the region.

“It’s really an effort to make sure members of their family still have access to affordable health care,” said Brigid Kelly, spokeswoman for UFCW Local 75.

Other companies excluding working spouses from coverage include package delivery company United Parcel Service Inc., impacting regional UPS workers in West Carrollton and Sharonville; Dayton-area hospital system Premier Health; and crane equipment manufacturer Konecranes, impacting workers in Franklin and Springfield.

The new four-year labor agreement covering Kroger employees in the company’s Cincinnati/Dayton Division is the first contract negotiated after federal health reform was implemented, officials said. It also merged for the first time previously separate Cincinnati and Dayton-area contracts.

“Companies are facing rising health care costs and must make some tough decisions in light of that reality,” James Haubrock, shareholder and chairman of employee benefit plan services for regional public accounting firm Clark Schaefer Hackett, previously told this news outlet.

“They have to balance their desire to manage costs, their need to attract and retain a high-quality labor force, and the requirement to comply with the (Affordable Care Act). Some employers will see eliminating coverage for spouses as a viable option to meet those competing needs,” Haubrock said in a 2013 interview.

The federal Affordable Care Act does not require employers to cover spouses or domestic partners, Haubrock said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

Mad River Twp. residents voice concern over mining site
Mad River Twp. residents voice concern over mining site

Hundreds of people filled the small cafeteria of Greenon High School to voice their concerns about a permit modification that would affect the Mad River Twp. Enon Sand and Gravel LLC applied for a permit modification in November 2016. The township became aware of the modification request at the beginning of March. The company wants to dig about 60...
Trump to meet with Chinese president at Mar-a-Lago next week
Trump to meet with Chinese president at Mar-a-Lago next week

President Donald Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, next week, according to Lantana Police Chief Sean Scheller. >> Read more trending news Scheller made the announcement Monday at the Lantana Town Council meeting, and said the Chinese president plans to stay at...
Apocalyptic-looking clouds officially identified
Apocalyptic-looking clouds officially identified

The afternoon of Monday, March 20, unique and ominous-looking clouds were spotted across parts of southwest Ohio. The picture with this article was taken by Melissa Taylor. At first glance, the clouds looked like rolling, storm waves in an ocean. In fact, these clouds almost look apocalyptic. It turns out that last Friday, March 24, the World Meteorological...
Texas: Quick-thinking Boy Scouts save man’s life on sailboat
Texas: Quick-thinking Boy Scouts save man’s life on sailboat

What would you do if you found yourself with your father’s life in your hands? That was the situation 14-year-old Tex “T” Mitchell IV faced one afternoon while sailing on Lake Belton, west of Temple, Texas, with three of his friends under the guidance of his dad. >> Read more trending news “My dad started laying down and...
5 inspiring quotes from iconic Muslim women to celebrate #MuslimWomensDay
5 inspiring quotes from iconic Muslim women to celebrate #MuslimWomensDay

Monday, March 27, marks the first-ever Muslim Women’s Day — a day for Muslim women to share their stories and for others to celebrate them during Women’s History Month. Created by with the help of dozens of media groups and websites, the day is an opportunity to “hear from a community that’s often talked...
More Stories