Wal-Mart Guts Its Employee Health Care Plan And Raises Premiums

Claiming that it’s too expensive, Wal-Mart has announced it is rescinding health coverage for part-time workers and drastically raising premiums for much of its full time staff.

According to The New York Times, the country’s largest private employer told all of its employees working less that 24 hours a week that they will no longer qualify for insurance and anyone working up to 33 hours a week may no longer include a spouse on their plan.

Rates are expected to climb by more than 40 per cent for some employees. Combined with high deductibles, employees are complaining that their health care will now eat up to 20 per cent of their annual pay.

From the Times:

This is a big shift from just a few years ago when Wal-Mart expanded coverage for employees and their families after facing criticism because so many of its 1.4 million workers could not afford or did not qualify for coverage — rendering many of them eligible for Medicaid.

Under pressure from states saddled with rising Medicaid costs and from labour unions and community groups, Wal-Mart had agreed to offer part-time employees, even those averaging less than 24 hours a week, health care insurance after a year on the job, shaving a year off the eligibility requirement. Wal-Mart also said that it was offering health plans that cost its employees about $250 a year for family coverage.

Wal-Mart refused Thursday to disclose the number of workers employed less that 24 hours a week, saying only the decision was reached due to rising health care costs.

In addition smokers will now have to pay up to an additional $2,340 a year for health coverage through the company.

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