Our company has one employee who was on a Teamsters health plan. The company paid his portion of the health costs, and he paid prox $4.00 – $5.00 per Hour to cover his wife. Combined with his other union dues, this left his wages at almost poverty level to care for his family.

The employee was laid off in December 2013, and the business agent told him (and the company) that if he got insurance on the outside, he could save $$, and opt out of the plan. The employee did so, and signed up for Obamacare in early spring of 2014, while he was still laid off. The coverage has been good, and at prox 25% of the cost.

The union has since come back at the company, saying the business agent was wrong in his advice, and that the company must now pay for the last year of Teamster benefits, plus penalties and interest – almost $15,000.00 – even though we had not requested or used any coverage.

The union rationale is that Obamacare is not a “group” policy, and therefore the employee cannot opt out???

I don’t want to see either the employee or company get hurt, as this appears to simply be a means to generate money for the union. If the employee is forced to go back to the expensive union program, this will hurt both the company and employee, and the employee will have no choice but to quit a job that he likes.

Might you have any guidance or legal facts to explain the jurisdiction of Obamacare, or how it might pass as “group” coverage with 6.8 million people? Wouldn’t Obamacare have jurisdiction over a local union plan, that hurt the employee financially? Wouldn’t the threat of fines for those without insurance be a reasonable answer to get Obamacare?

Help please – our little company can’t afford the $15,000.00, the employee cant afford to pay over 30% of his wages to the union.


ObamaCare is the the largest group policy in the US outside of Medicare and Medicaid. Alas, it may not qualify as a traditional "group" policy. The idea that employee doesn't have a choice in this matter seems really off to us, as does a $15,000 charge for coverage that wasn't even provided.

We know unions have special exemptions under the ACA. Give us some time to dig in. In the meantime, anyone reading this who has a good answer should comment below.

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