Wal Mart Rolls Back Some Health Care Benefits

October 22 00:00 2011

New York, October 22 (RainbowNewsLine.com) – Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), America’s largest private employer, is rolling back health care benefits for its employees, citing rising costs. Coverage for part-time workers will be rolled back substantially whereas premiums for many full-time staff will be raised significantly.

The company told its employees this week that all future part-time employees who work less than 24 hours a week on average will no longer qualify for any of the company’s health insurance plans. Moreover, spouses of new employees who average 24 hours to 33 hours a week would not be included in their health care plan but children would still be covered.

It was a major shift from its policy just a few years ago when Wal-Mart decided to render many of its 1.4 million workers who could not afford or did not qualify for coverage, eligible for Medicaid.

Greg Rossiter, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said the decision to deny coverage to new part-time employees resulted from the company’s revamping of its health care offerings in light of rising costs.

He also said, “Over the last few years, we’ve all seen our health care rates increase and it’s probably not a surprise that this year will be no different. We made the difficult decision to raise rates that will affect our associates’ medical costs. The decisions made were not easy, but they strike a balance between managing costs and providing quality care and coverage.”