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Dec 23, 2011
I know this isn't major news, I guess it depends on who you are? But I thought I'd mention this anyways. Team Members were sent this letter, I was lucky to have a friend who I transcribed it from.

Sea World Parks & Entertainment said:
Re: CIGNA Starbridge Limited Medical

Dear, SeaWorld Team Member

As you may have heard, new health care reform regulations (Affordable Care Act) mandating insurance coverage goes into effect on January 1, 2014. The changes are meant to help expand access to adequate and affordable healthcare coverage. Another provision of this law requires medical plans must meet a certain standard by January 1, 2014.

This letter is to advise you that the Starbridge Limited Medical plan, currently offered by Cigna to SeaWorld Seasonal and Part-time employees, does not meet the minimum requirements for medical plans and will not be available in 2014. If you are currently enrolled in a Cigna Starbridge Medical plan, your coverage will end at midnight, December 31, 2013. SeaWorld is providing this infromation to you in advance so that you can explore other options for obtaining coverage and avoid the possibility of a tax penalty for not having medical coverage.

For more information on where you can find coverage and the new Health Insurance Marketplace please visit The Health Insurance Marketplace (an online exchange) is where individuals can shop for health insurance coverage that will be operated by each state or, by the federal government if the state does not have its own. As part of the Affordable Care Act, individuals with certain household incomes may be eligible for subsidies to help offset health insurance costs when purchased through their state or the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.


To sum this letter up, SWPE is basically saying because the government wants us to give you more, we won't be offering anything. Good luck finding your own stuff!
RE: Medical Benefits Changed

Since we are not a political forum, let's keep partisan posts out of this topic, or otherwise it will be locked.

Whether you agree with the law or not can be debated to no end on other forums that cater to those discussions.

I don't pull "moderator" often, but I don't want to see arguments started over politics in our forum.
RE: Medical Benefits Changed

How basic is that health care plan? Is this something they take out of every paycheck or do you sign up for it?
RE: Medical Benefits Changed

Many companies are doing this, not just SWPE. Currently seasonal and many part-time staff don't get benefits any way.
RE: Medical Benefits Changed

You have to sign up for the medical plan, well you had to anyways. It really is so basic it might as well be nonexistent.

I point out SWPE because it relates to our forums :p But yes, I am sure most companies are doing the same thing.

With that said new rumors are spreading once again this year and they are bad for team members at least,

- Team members can't earn more than 30 hours per week
- Seasonal team members can only work 6 months out of the year

I am sure they will find a way around these knowing how the park tends to operate, but should any team member exceed these new rules, they get full benefits.
RE: Medical Benefits Changed

Everyone's hours will be reduced! Let me tell you that a lot of "part time/seasonal" workers could get up to 80 hours in a week let alone 32 hours. Now Everyone can't go past 28 hours. What will be the answer to this? Twice as many employees? Two casts system again? Who of quality will work for so little hours? What a dark day.

Forgot to mention there is no such thing as overtime at the park as well.
RE: Medical Benefits Changed

Disney doesn't seem to have a problem...
RE: Medical Benefits Changed

To be fair, SEAS has announced they will be hiring more full time employees at all parks in 2014 according to this article on Bloomberg. However, the number and type of those full time jobs wasn't detailed.

The article also mentions most of what's in the above link regarding Disney's offer of 427 full time jobs to those part timers. In the grand scheme of Disney's overall employment numbers, 427 jobs is a relative drop in the bucket.
RE: Medical Benefits Changed

With all this talk of employment I have found out some interesting news.

Originally, BGW was going to offer more Part-Time positions (none of the positions would be in-park mostly) and Seasonal 6-month jobs. From clear understanding, the Seasonal 6-month position would have no limits to how many hours they can work; whereas Part-Time would be limited to no more than 28 hours per week.

The park was going to go with this plan UNTIL something happened. The way it was described was that corporate saw the BGW is not a fully limited seasonal park; however not a full year park either. Thus they created a new hiring model that will be announced tomorrow morning.

Not sure what their plans are, but we shall see what goes on.
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RE: Medical Benefits Changed

I hope corporate has some sense and gets this right because people internally aren't happy about the current plans. At all. I wish I could release the stuff I've been hearing, but just know things as they are at this moment are very bad.
RE: Medical Benefits Changed

Well John Harris and Carl Lum seem to have a plan that they feel everyone will enjoy and is very close to what they have now. That is of course, if their vision works out well.
So as an update ot the employment situation, the park has created somewhat of a loophole to the situation. Instead of being a Part-time or 6-month seasonal team member, you can now be a variable team member. This means you will work 12 months out of the year; however, you only work hours that vary and are given on a demand basis. Hours will vary depending on multiple factors. Essentially, this just means that team members can continue to work they way they have been working except they are not required to take a two month hiatus before working again, they can work constantly if needed.

I know this type of employment was brought upon us by the Health Care Act; however, this definitely looks like a step towards full-year operations. Now speculate!
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I don't pretend to know the rules and regulations behind this stuff, but something tells me there's a major pitfall here. If this is so great, why wouldn't the park have done this to begin with?
Because they originally were going with the Part-time/Seasonal 6-month plans that is until they realized that their workforce was not going to put up with that because most in-park jobs were only going to be 6 months and their workforce can't deal with that. Considering the disabled and elderly workforce is great within the park.

I'm still trying to figure out how this works with government regulations myself.
Yes, but they were going to do that to avoid the healthcare issue. There has to be another loophole they're using to make this new setup work and, if anyone knows what it is, I'm very curious to hear about it. The whole situation sounds... questionable... at best.
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I claim no specific knowledge, but it could just be that the lawyers have been working on the issue and decided they found a loophole. I have seen policies "evolve" as people study new rules and regulations to work out what can and cannot be done.
If 12 month employees work over a certain threshold of hours, then they would be eligible for healthcare benefits the following year. That was announced to the employees.
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