Walmart Slashes Health Care Benefits
Cites concerns over rising costs
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Oct 21, 2011 10:04 AM CDT
Walmart employees Jon Christians and Lori Harris take job applications and answers questions during a job fair at the University of Illinois Springfield campus, Sept. 1, 2011 in Springfield, Ill.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

(Newser) – America’s largest employer is scaling back its health benefits, jacking up premiums for full-time workers by as much as 40% and eliminating coverage altogether for many part-timers, Walmart told employees this week. The company blamed rising costs for the move, telling the New York Times that it has nothing to do with the new health care reform law. “The decisions made were not easy,” a spokesman said, “but they strike a balance between managing costs and providing quality care.” From now on, employees who work less than 24 hours a week on average won’t be eligible for coverage. New hires who work between 24 and 33 hours will qualify, but won’t be allowed to add a spouse to the plan (kids, however, can be added).

The Times talks to one Placerville, Calif., employee, who says her premiums will jump from $260 a year to $468—and her annual deductible will rise from $1,000 to $5,000. She earns $19,000 a year. Another 2012 change: Employees who smoke will have to pay a $260 to $2,340 penalty to get insurance. The moves come just a few years after Walmart expanded its coverage to more of its part-time employees in the first place, under pressure from states sick of having them on the Medicaid rolls. More than half of large employers don’t cover part-timers.

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Oct 23, 2011 11:13 AM CDT
Big box retailers like Wal-Mart have gained too much control over our buying choices. Wal-Mart is nothing more then a "Made in China" dumping ground. Our country and economy was built by small business not multinational corporations. Small businesses thrived by rewarding employees with affordable health benefits, pay raises, retirement pensions, etc. People stayed at the same company 30 to 40 years before retiring. There is no longer any employer to employee trust. There is no job security. There is no employee loyalty! Employees are treated like cattle. How can you have any pride in your work when you will only receive a non livable, minimum wage with little chance of advancement or financial reward? The majority of the people that work at Wal-Mart are there by desperation not choice. That's very obvious when you ask for assistance at any Wal-Mart, if you can even find someone to assist you.
Oct 23, 2011 1:17 AM CDT
Q: The poll suggests steps the public is not ready to accept, such as limits on where patients can go for care or imposing higher charges for higher-cost hospitals.
Oct 22, 2011 12:46 PM CDT
wal mart is killing this country plain and simple. this country is the EXACT one we need to use for Occupy America protests. this IS what a corrupt corporation is. the amount of shit that country is into is just scary. also, i watched a film that was made about walmart on dvd not too long ago. some scary stuff about that place.