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Mar 26, 2010 2:30 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Health care: AT&T will take $1B quarterly charge

AT&T will take a $1 billion non-cash charge in the first quarter related to the health care overhaul.

AT&T Inc. said Friday that the charge is to reflect the change of the tax treatment of Medicare subsidies. Companies say the health care overhaul, which President Barack Obama signed Tuesday, will make a subsidy that companies receive for retiree drug coverage taxable in 2011.

AT&T also says it is looking into changing the health care benefits it offers to active and retired workers because of the legislation.

On Thursday, Deere & Co. and Caterpillar Inc. announced similar charges. Both say the health care law will raise their related expenses.

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