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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to eliminate health insurance coverage for some of its part-time U.S. employees in a move aimed at controlling rising health care costs of the nation's largest private employer. Wal-Mart told The Associated Press that starting Jan. 1, it will no longer offer health insurance to employees who work less than an average of 30 hours a week. The move affects 30,000 employees, or about 5 percent of Wal-Mart's total part-time workforce, but comes after the company already had scaled back the number of part-time workers who were eligible for health insurance coverage since 2011. The move follows similar decisions by Target, Home Depot and others to eliminate health insurance benefits for part-time employees.
Sally Wellborn, Wal-Mart's senior vice president of benefits, said the company will use a third-party organization to help part-time workers find insurance alternatives. "We are trying to balance the needs of (workers) as well as the costs of (workers) as well as the cost to Wal-Mart." The announcement comes after Wal-Mart said far more U.S. employees and their families are enrolling in its health care plans than it had expected following rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Wal-Mart, which employs about 1.4 million full- and part-time U.S. workers, says about 1.2 million Wal-Mart workers and family members combined now participate in its health care plan.
Story corrects to say that the Wal-Mart move affects some of the retailer's part-time employees, not most of them.
-- The Associated Press