Wal-Mart Cuts Benefits For Part Time Employees
Premiums Will Go Up For Tobacco Smokers
Wal-Mart, the largest U.S. retailer and the nation's largest private employer, announced Friday it will no longer provide health insurance to new part-time employees who work fewer than 24 hours a week.
The company is also raising premiums for many of its full-time staff, significantly for those who smoke.
The health plan changes will go into effect in January.
Wal-Mart has offered part-time workers the option of signing up for healthcare coverage since 1996, regardless of how many hours per week worked. Now, part-time associates who work less than an average of 24 hours per week will no longer be eligible for the company's health insurance plans. Those who were already eligible may still participate, even if they work fewer than 24 hours per week.
As for full time employees, they can expect to see an increase in premiums. A tobacco user will now be charged an additional $10 per pay period--$260 a year, if they want health coverage.
In addition, any new employees who averages 24 hours to 33 hours a week will no longer be able to include a spouse as part of their health care plan, but can still sign up for coverage for their children.
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.
“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,” he said.