Healthcare mandatory in MA? Evidently not at Aspiant.

November 7, 2008

It came to my attention Thursday that not everyone is pleased with the results of the election. Be it the choice by the country of a new President or the changes in Massachusetts laws (we still have an income tax and now we can’t bet on dogs), but one firm in Cambridge has notified its employees that healthcare has just become more expensive.

The company – Aspiant of Cambridge – sent an email out Tuesday night minutes after the election results had been announced on the major networks, saying that the company would no longer contribute any money to employees’ healthcare plans.

I was given a copy of that email by an employee and decided to share it with my readers.

Here’s the text of that email. I’ve stripped out the addresses of the employee who provided it and also removed Aspiant CEO’s cell phone number, but have left the time stamp and all other information intact.

From: Mirko Geffken
Subject: Health Insurance Employer Contribution Elimination and Travel Reimbursement Elimination
Date: Tuesday, November 4, 2008, 11:02 PM

Hi All,
with the recent events Aspiant is no longer able to provide a health insurance contribution. This means that effective with the next payroll the employer contribution to healthcare is reduced from 50% to 0%. Also, all previously authorized travel reimbursement, including MBTA passes and all other travel reimbursements are hereby revoked.
Effectively this means that the portion you are paying for healthcare will double.
Unfortunately these steps are necessary because it is uncertain that future legal developments will allow for a reduction in benefits. To preempt this development this change is made effective immediately. It is likely that with the change in administration alternative health insurance options will become available that may reduce your health insurance obligation.
It is also likely that our tax obligations will increase and it is unlikely that a raise in rates will be possible from our client in these economic times.
If anyone is interested in researching alternative health plans (PPO only) that provide similar coverage (with maybe higher deductables) feel free to do so and let me know if you find one of interest. Please be aware that MA law requires you to have healthcare coverage, so it is not possible to drop coverage altogether.
I regret having to move in this direction, but this is the partially the cost of doing business in the state of Massachusetts and the impact that future policies will have on this organization.
I can only hope that future elections will provide a more positive environment for business or further measures will have to be taken.
As always should you have any questions feel free to see me.
All the best

Mirko Geffken
President & CEO
Aspiant, Inc.
Tel. (877) 527-7426 x501
Fax. (877) 527-7426

I was unable to confirm if this tactic or measure is legal under Massachusetts law. I’ve also been unable to find out what the impetus for this move was. I’ll try to chase down more of this story as it develops and find out from some healthcare advocates in the state to see if this move is legal or where the abandoned employees can get assistance.

But in a time of economic challenges, wouldn’t you think a business owner might have some compassion for his employees? Further, all contributions into these plans are still deductible on the firm’s taxes.

Maybe the guy is just being a dink because his ballot question, candidate or dog had a bad day.

If he just doesn’t like Obama, he’s still got 70 days to deal with the regulations under the old administration.

I especially like how he says that “all previously authorized travel reimbursement, including MBTA passes and all other travel reimbursements are hereby revoked.” That’s a nice touch. Hope people didn’t travel far for the company on their own dime and now can’t get reimbursed.

Also interesting is the fact the company lists two positions available on its Website and gives the following text as enticement to come work for Mirko…

Aspiant is constantly looking for highly-skilled consultants specializing in Microsoft technologies. We seek candidates with a strong desire to learn and stay on top of technologies in their line of work and look for a company that supports their ambitions.

If you are seeking a consulting position with a highly capable and team-oriented environment, please send your resume and a brief description describing what it is you are best at to:

Whatever the case, I’m sure his clients, prospective investors, family and friends will be interested to see how he treats his corporate family.

Keep reading!