Verizon Communications Inc., the second-largest U.S. phone company, became the latest company to record a cost related to the U.S. health-care overhaul, saying it will incur a $970 million expense.
..Verizon follows AT&T Inc., the biggest U.S. carrier, Deere & Co., Caterpillar Inc. and other companies in disclosing similar expenses after losing a tax benefit for retiree plans. The costs may reduce corporate profits by as much as $14 billion as companies account for the impact of the health-care reforms, according to benefits consulting firm Towers Watson.
...“This is having an impact on the bottom line and that can cut jobs,” said Chetan Sharma, an independent wireless analyst in Issaquah, Washington. “I am not sure the final story has been told on this” because most companies still don’t know exactly how the new law will affect them, he said.
Verizon had about 223,000 workers at the end of December, with about 35 percent represented by labor unions including the Communication Workers of America. About 58 percent of Dallas- based AT&T’s workforce has union representation.
In a note to employees after the law was passed, Verizon said that the law would make the federal subsidy to provide retiree benefits less valuable to employers and so “may have significant implications for both retirees and employers.”