ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
NPR's business news starts with Wal-Mart cutting back on employee health care.
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SHAPIRO: Today the New York Times reports that the nation's largest private employer will no longer provide a health care plan for new part-time employees. Wal-Mart is also raising premiums for many full-time staff. The reason is rising costs, according to a company spokesman quoted in the story. Under the changes, new part-timers who average less than 24 hours a week will no longer qualify for any Wal-Mart health plans. Also, smokers will have to pay a penalty ranging from $260 to $2,300 a year if they want coverage. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.