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This retailer is expanding health care benefits


In a move that could help its employees save money, Starbucks Corp. is increasing the number of health insurance options available to its employees.

The coffee giant announced Monday that beginning this fall it will give eligible U.S. employees (those who work 20 hours or more per week) the ability to buy their insurance coverage through a private health exchange, which will increase the number of insurance options available to them.,

Starbucks said its new online benefits platform, designed and delivered by Aon, will help its associates choose from as many as six national and regional carriers and five coverage levels based on their budgets and preferred insurance carrier. Under the existing system, Starbucks employees have the option of enrolling in three different levels of coverage that is offered by a single insurer, Premara Blue Cross.

The retailer, which will continue to fund approximately 70% of the premium costs and cover 100% of preventive care services, said eligible employees could save up to $800 annually by moving to a health insurance plan that better meets their individual needs. The potential savings are even more for partners who select family coverage, with the opportunity to save $2,600 annually, according to Starbucks.

The company said its “unique” private exchange model will ensure that “any cost savings achieved will go right back to its partners.”

“Providing industry-leading benefits for eligible full- and part-time partners is a cornerstone of who we are as a company,” said Ron Crawford, Starbucks VP of global benefits. “Much like a travel site, our partners will be able to navigate an easy to use online platform to choose between more insurance carriers and coverage levels at more competitive prices to help them find the right plan for their own needs.”

Starbucks has offered comprehensive benefits, including affordable and comprehensive health care to eligible part-time and full-time partners, since 1988.

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