The stepchildren of working parents in New York state are dependent children for the purposes of qualifying for coverage under federally regulated group health insurance plans, a federal judge has ruled.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., had balked at providing coverage for the stepson of one of its employees in upstate Essex County, N.Y. The county sought to force Wal-Mart to insure the boy after he was enrolled in Medicaid, the taxpayer-supported health insurance program.

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