PITTSBURGH PSC Metals Inc. intends to discontinue its health insurance policy for all employees, the first known company in the metals industry to do so.
The move means that some 1,000 workers at the Mayfield Heights, Ohio-based metals recycler and broker will need to enroll through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or seek insurance through an exchange.
Chief executive officer Bob Brewer confirmed the decision, but declined to comment on the matter. Employees at the company also declined to comment.
Because PSC Metals employs more than 50 people, it could face a government penalty of $2,000 per worker, which is less than the cost of most insurance premiums. An Ohio Valley recycler said it costs $7,200 annually to insure an individual and $20,000 per year to insure a family.
A source close to PSC Metals reported being told that many of the companys workers might be eligible for government insurance subsidies because of their income level.
No other metal recyclers could be located that have made a similar decision to terminate health care insurance.
Industry reaction to the PSC decision has been mixed, ranging from disbelief to concerns that other companies might follow suit.
"This is sending a message that PSC does not care about its workers. The first thing I did when I became successful was offer my employees good health care," said the owner of a recycling yard that services the Ohio Valley.
Some metal recycling employees fear that it could have a ripple effect. "Times are tough, and there are not a lot of jobs out there so they may be forced to live with it. If their workers dont bail out, then other companies could do the same," a source in Birmingham, Ala., said. "It is cheaper to pay the penalty than pay the premiums."
An Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries spokesman did not return a call seeking comment.