Walmart Taking Away Insurance For 30,000 Workers

The nation’s largest retailer and private employer has announced that it will discontinue offering health insurance to many part-time employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week, along with increasing the premiums by up to 20% for many workers who continue to receive benefits.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the total number of Walmart workers that will be left without company-sponsored coverage is around 30,000 employees, representing about 2% of Walmart’s U.S. workforce.

The retailer stopped offering health insurance benefits to new part-time workers who worked fewer than 30 hours per week in 2012. The employees involved in this announcement were grandfathered in and continued to receive benefits.

Full-time store associates will keep on receiving insurance benefits through Walmart, but will pay more starting in 2015. The premium for the lowest cost plan that covers just the employee will increase by $3.50 per pay period to $21.90.

Walmart maintains that even after the premium hike, the cost to the worker is still half the average premium paid by employees at other retailers.

“Like every company, Walmart continues to face rising health care costs,” writes Sally Welborn, the company’s senior vice president of global benefits. “This year, the expenses were significant and led us to make some tough decisions as we begin our annual enrollment.”