Many Equinox trainers lost segments of their healthcare coverage as of Jan. 1 when the New York-based company overhauled its policies for insuring part-time employees, according to a report by Bloomberg.
“With the vast majority of our employees working highly variable hours, we fundamentally shifted the ways in which we offer and administer our healthcare in 2017,” Equinox representatives told Bloomberg. “Our new plan for 2017 offers a full suite of benefit options to all variable hour employees, regardless of hours worked. If an employee meets the definition of 'full time employee' as defined by the Affordable Care Act, then additional medical plans are offered.”
Equinox did not respond to Club Industry’s request for comment.
Equinox employees working less than 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month are no longer eligible for the company's top-tier healthcare packages, the Bloomberg story said. Now, part-time employees can only enroll in the Basic Plan, a self-described “limited medical plan” primarily focused on preventive services. This includes a 50 percent discount card for prescriptions and two allotted doctor visits per year, Bloomberg reported.
Only employees working 30 or more hours per week can enroll in Equinox’s new top-tier packages: the Enhanced Plan and the Premier Plan. (Any worker logging over 30 hours weekly is recognized as a full-time employee under the Affordable Care Act.)
As of 2016, personal trainers logging a minimum of 44 company hours biweekly were eligible for three coverage options. Two of these were similar to the company's new Enhanced and Premier options, according to Bloomberg. Under either of the aforementioned plans, part-time employees were insured for primary care and specialist visits, in addition to prescriptions, hospitalization, mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Equinox issued an internal memo describing the coverage changes, Bloomberg reported. Executives told part-time employees they “will have to make a change,” suggesting they enroll in the Basic Plan, join a spouse’s plan or seek assistance from Healthcare.gov.
Trainers complained to company executives, leading to several town hall and private meetings, Equinox personal trainer Jared Glenn told Bloomberg. However, no policy changes were made.
"These trainers are people, they have children, they have families," Glenn told Bloomberg. "Just because we work for this luxury brand doesn't mean we're living the high life."
The future of Equinox’s coverage options may hinge upon the fate of the Affordable Care Act, which President-Elect Donald Trump has repeatedly indicated he intends to repeal and replace.
Equinox, which operates 83 clubs, ranked No. 5 on this year's Club Industry Top 100 Clubs list with an estimated revenue of $1.07 billion.