Retailer takes a bold step on health insurance
Retail giant Wal-Mart has announced that it will begin offering health insurance benefits to the domestic partners of its U.S. employees next year. The retailer is following the lead of several other large companies that have been expanding health insurance benefits in recent months. The company will also begin offering vision care to eligible employees and their dependents. This move could be a major boon for many people in the U.S. who depend on the health insurance coverage Wal-Mart provides them with.
Domestic partners to gain access to Wal-Mart health care plans
More than half of Wal-Mart’s 1.3 million U.S. employees receive health insurance benefits from the company. The company notes that it is not aware of how many of its employees would make active use of this coverage. Expanding its health insurance benefits is partly due to a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that requires the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states where such unions are legal. Because the retail operates in every state in the country, it is thusly obliged to extend benefits to domestic partners if their spouses are eligible for such benefits.
Large employers not seeking to cut benefits
Like other large employers, Wal-Mart had not announced any intention to cut its health insurance benefits in the near future. There have been many concerns that large businesses would cut such benefits in order to better manage the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act. Thus far, however, only small employers have taken steps to limit the benefits they offer to their workers. While Wal-Mart will not be cutting benefits, making its health care benefits more accessible does come at a cost.
Retailer makes changes to health insurance offerings
U.S. employees can expect to see their contribution to their employer-sponsored health insurance rise by as much as 10%. Providing more coverage to a wider range of people is a costly initiative and Wal-Mart believes that employees must contribute more to their coverage in order to offset the overall costs of health insurance. Wal-Mart is also making some changes to the plans it offers, but information on these changes is not expected to be available until October of this year.