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Giant food service contractor Sodexo backtracks after bumping thousands from health plan

Julie Pemberton stands in the living room of her apartment as her cat Pewter walks through, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in Weymouth, Mass. Pemberton works more than 40 hours a week during the academic year. That gave her access to health care on the job until her employer changed the rules ahead of new coverage requirements under President Barack Obama’s health care law. The workers, their union, and even some college administrators, say the government appears to have unwittingly created a loophole that’s hurting employees the law was intended to help. (AP Photo Stephan Savoia)

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Julie Pemberton stands in the living room of her apartment as her cat Pewter walks through, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in Weymouth, Mass. Pemberton works more than 40 hours a week during the academic year. That gave her access to health care on the job until her employer changed the rules ahead of new coverage requirements under President Barack Obama’s health care law. The workers, their union, and even some college administrators, say the government appears to have unwittingly created a loophole that’s hurting employees the law was intended to help. (AP Photo Stephan Savoia)

WASHINGTON - Many employees who already have health insurance worry they'll pay a price for President Barack Obama's overhaul. But for workers at one major company those fears appear to be easing.

Food service giant Sodexo unexpectedly reversed course Thursday after bumping thousands of college cafeteria workers from its health plan earlier this year and casting blame on the health care law.

Sodexo's vice-president for benefits, Julie Peterson, says the company will make changes for next year to restore eligibility for many of those affected.

Peterson says the shift is part of a normal review of major policy decisions, but Sodexo also faced a union organizing drive and campus protests.

Economists say it may be harder for employers to cut benefits now if unemployment keeps going down.

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