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Massachusetts companies weigh trimming employee benefits in response to federal health law

Both Delta Airlines and UPS plan to cut benefits in advance of changes from to the Affordable Care Act. UPS will not cover spouses of employees if the spouses have jobs that provide health coverage. Delta is reducing benefits to avoid a new tax.
Both Delta Airlines and UPS plan to cut benefits in advance of changes from to the Affordable Care Act. UPS will not cover spouses of employees if the spouses have jobs that provide health coverage. Delta is reducing benefits to avoid a new tax.Nico Garstman/AFP/Getty Images

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Massachusetts businesses are considering trimming employee health benefits, following recent announcements by several national firms, including shipping giant UPS and Delta Airlines, that they would scale back benefits as a result of President Obama’s health care overhaul.

The sudden uncertainty, just months before the law requires most Americans to obtain health insurance, worries some Bay State industry leaders that progress made under the state’s first-in-the-nation health care overhaul law will stall — or, worse, there will be a regression.

“It only takes one or two companies like UPS to start the trend. And that makes me nervous because in Massachusetts, there’s nowhere to go but backwards,” said Kristen Lepore, vice president for government affairs at the Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

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