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Jeff Bezos Axes Health Benefits For Nearly 2,000 Part-Time Whole Foods Workers

Medical care is expensive, so for many people, work-provided health benefits are crucial to being able to afford doctors visits, prescriptions, and any unexpected medical expenses.

Without those benefits, these people can find themselves suddenly left responsible for paying for those same treatments out of pocket, which can be a pricey, debt-inducing expense.

Nearly 2,000 part-time workers at the Amazon-owned grocery chain, Whole Foods, will soon lose their health benefits as part of a massive cut from company owner Jeff Bezos, Business Insider reported.

A company spokesperson revealed the changes are expected to go into effect on January 1 of the coming year.

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Just under 2 percent of the franchise's workforce will be affected by the cut. Whole Foods employs about 95,000 people, meaning around 1,900 part-time workers will suddenly find themselves with no health benefits. Full-time employees won't be affected.

The spokesperson said this change is being made so the company can "better meet the needs of our business."

They also said it's intended to ensure Whole Foods can "create a more equitable and efficient scheduling model."

"The small percentage of part-time team members ... who previously opted into medical benefits through Whole Foods Market's healthcare plan — less than 2% of our total workforce — will no longer be eligible to buy into medical coverage through the company," the spokesperson said.

The company isn't leaving these part-time employees entirely in the lurch, though.

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As the spokesperson explained, Whole Foods will be providing those workers with resources to find their own healthcare coverage, or be given the option to "explore full-time, healthcare-eligible positions starting at 30 hours per week."

Despite health cuts, the company won't be eliminating any worker's employment benefits, including their 20 percent off in-store discount.

One anonymous employee who's worked at Whole Foods for 15 years said she was devastated by the abrupt news.

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She told Business Insider that her entirely family relies on her benefits plan, and she'll either have to increase her hours to be eligible for full-time benefits (meaning she'll also have to pay for child care), or try to find a new healthcare plan in the potentially more expensive private marketplace.

"I am in shock," she said. "I've worked here 15 years. This is why I keep the job — because of my benefits."

h/t: Business Insider