World's Largest Retailer To Offer Domestic Partner Health Benefits In 2014
Written by Ken Gaebler
Retail giant Wal-Mart announces plans to provide health insurance benefits to domestic partners in 2014.
Salary and health insurance coverage are top-of-mind concerns for U.S. workers. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act looming on the horizon, many workers are anxious about their ability to maintain quality health insurance through their employers.
In a move that is sure to please many of its workers, Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, recently announced plans to modify its current employee benefits program and extend health insurance coverage to domestic partners of the brand's U.S. employees starting in 2014.
With more than 1.3 million employees in the U.S., Wal-Mart is the nation's largest employer outside of the federal government. Nearly half of Wal-Mart's workforce currently takes advantage of the company's health insurance benefits. Wal-Mart executives insist that they have no idea how many employees will tap into the new domestic partner benefit program.
"Since we operate in all 50 states, we thought it was important to develop a single definition for all Wal-Mart associates in the U.S.," Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar told Reuters.
Under the new program, Wal-Mart employees' domestic partners qualify for coverage if they are legal spouses (not separated) or a domestic partner of any gender with which the employee shares an exclusive relationships that has existed for 12 or more months. Coverage for part-time employees (30 hours or more per week) begins after a year of employment.
Like many other U.S. workers, all Wal-Mart employees will pay more for health insurance in the coming year. Depending on the plan they select, Wal-Mart employees will pay from 3-10% more for healthcare coverage in 2014.
"There's no one size fits all solution for people's benefits, so we're trying to offer a number of benefit options and then let associates make choices on what's best for them," Tovar said.
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