Wal-Mart Dumps Cigna Insurance Option

October 2, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Looking to save money by streamlining its employee health-care insurance options, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said employees will no longer have a Cigna Corp. provider option.

By dropping Cigna as a health-care insurance provider, effective at the end of this year, Wal-Mart said it intends to streamline its insurance plans using the nationwide Blue Cross Blue Shield Association system to administer insurance claims. The move will affect approximately 11% of Wal-Mart’s 42,000-plus Arkansas employees who chose Cigna during the previous two annual open enrollment periods, according to an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette report.

“Our association with Cigna is ending,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman. “We weren’t able to reach a compromise [on terms of a renewed contract].”

Under the Cigna plan, employees paid $76.84 every two weeks for coverage with family coverage running upwards of $220.22 per pay period. However, beginning January 1, the company’s insurance plan tops out at $36.50 per employee and $132 per family, with a $350 deductible.

The giant retailer currently offers health insurance to full-time employees after a three to six month waiting period and part-time employees after two year of service. Overall, Wal-Mart said it picks up two-thirds of the cost and has roughly 40% of its US employees electing coverage.