30,000 Walmart Part-Time Workers To Lose Health Benefits The world’s largest retailer and largest private employer announced Tuesday that it would terminate health insurance coverage for employees who work fewer than an average of 30 hours a week. This action follows similar steps by Target and Home Depot, among others. The Associated Press: Wal-Mart Cuts Some Part-Time Health BenefitsStarting Jan. 1, Wal-Mart told The Associated Press that it will no longer offer health insurance to employees who work less than an average of 30 hours a week. The move, which would affect 30,000 employees, follows similar decisions by Target, Home Depot and others to eliminate health insurance benefits for part-time employees. … Wellborn says 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” (D’Innocenzio, 10/7).The New York Times: 30,000 Lose Health Care Coverage At WalmartWalmart Stores, the world’s largest retailer and the nation’s largest private employer, said on Tuesday that it would terminate health insurance coverage for about 30,000 part-time workers, joining a string of retailers that have rolled back benefits in response to the Affordable Care Act (Tabuchi, 10/7).McClatchy/Los Angeles Times: Wal-Mart To End Healthcare Coverage For 30,000 Part-TimersRetail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is cutting healthcare benefits for roughly 30,000 part-time employees, citing rising costs. Wal-Mart said Tuesday that it will end coverage for employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week. The decision affects 2% of the retailer’s U.S. workforce of 1.4 million. For those losing coverage come Jan. 1, the Bentonville, Ark., firm said it will work with an outside company to help workers find “the right, affordable health care” (Khouri, 10/7).The Wall Street Journal: Wal-Mart To End Health Insurance For Some Part-Time EmployeesAutumn is typically when U.S. companies unveil changes to employee insurance plans. This is the first such enrollment period since employers could assess the full financial impact of the federal health-care overhaul, and it is a key moment as companies work to lower their spending ahead of looming taxes on the most generous plans. Many businesses are continuing to shift more costs to workers. Phoenix-based technology distributor Avnet Inc., for example, is paring back its traditional plans in favor of high-deductible options. Other companies are reducing coverage for spouses, according to consultants at Towers Watson & Co. (Banjo, Wilde Mathews and Francis, 10/7).Reuters: Wal-Mart Raises Health Care Costs, Cuts Benefits For Some Part-TimersThe world’s largest retailer said it would raise health insurance premiums for its entire U.S. workforce beginning in January. In addition, Wal-Mart will end coverage for employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week, a change that will impact 2 percent of U.S. workers, or about 30,000 people. The move comes as U.S. companies brace for a January 2015 deadline under the Affordable Care Act. Starting then, companies with 50 or more employees will have to offer health insurance to those working at least 30 hours a week, a mandate that has drawn criticism from some companies worried about higher costs (Layne and Cavale, 10/7). CNN Money: Wal-Mart Cuts Health Benefits For 30,000 Part-TimersThe cut applies to part-timers who work fewer than 30 hours a week, Wal-Mart — about 2% of the company’s U.S. workforce. More of Wal-Mart’s employees signed up for health benefits this year than the company expected, which boosted the company’s costs. One reason for the increase in sign-ups could be Obamacare, which requires most everyone to have health coverage, though Wal-Mart did not make that connection (Lobosco, 10/8).Fox Business: Wal-Mart Cuts Health Benefits for Some Part-Time WorkersFor those employees who no longer have access, Wal-Mart has partnered with HealthCompare, a third-party specialist, to help those workers find a suitable alternative for health insurance options. Welborn said the company has not yet initiated the open enrollment period for its employees to select the plan and benefits they wish to receive. She said, though, during the previous open enrollment period for 2014, the company added about 100,000 new enrollees to various plan options. She added more associates elected to enroll in plans than drop their coverage (Craig, 10/7). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.