Wal-Mart Reduces Uninsured Worker Ranks Significantly

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. reported today that 92.7 percent of its eligible associates now have health care coverage, with 50.2 percent of them relying on Wal-Mart's new associate-tailored plans for 2008. The number of uninsured associates fell by more than 20 percent from a year ago, according to the company. Wal-Mart offers coverage to part-time and full-time associates.

"Over the past few years, we've spent a lot of time listening to our associates and working closely with them to design a benefits package that better meets their needs," said Linda Dillman, executive vice president of benefits and risk management for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "Just as in the last few years, we are pleased to see an increase in enrollment numbers. With 690,970 associates -– and more than 1.1 million associates and dependants in total -– now covered by Wal-Mart's plans, we can see that the improvements we've made are being embraced by our associates and their families."

The company took a survey during the fall 2007 open enrollment period that found more than 30,000 associates chose Wal-Mart coverage for the first time after previously being uninsured. During the open enrollment period, 1,086,881 full-time and part-time associates -- 79 percent of the company's workforce -- were eligible for health benefits.

The company said it will commission a study to examine why associates have declined coverage and to identify ways to encourage them to accept it in the future.

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