Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (NYSE:WMT) health insurance could leave workers penniless


Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) is shedding its Health insurance for its temporary workers. Only 30,000 out of 1.4 million U.S workers are temporary and hence they a small percentage would be affected but there’s a large tail to the whole story. The remaining workers, who are working full time could find themselves almost broke by the time they pay their medical bills. Why? Because the insurance policy includes deductibles and out of pocket expenses, enough to bleed dry a worker off its annual income.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (NYSE:WMT) claims that health costs have increased and they were left with very few options. The company has tried hard to avoid pushing costs onto its associates and the best thing that seemed was to eliminate health insurance for the temporary worker. It is to be noted that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (NYSE:WMT)’s 40 percent of workers are temporary. Also most of these workers hadn’t availed Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (NYSE:WMT)’s coverage offer because they were already on spouse or family insurance plans.

So this move by Walmart might be understood by businessmen but for the have nots of the country seems excessively unfair. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (NYSE:WMT) often hires thousands of young people for and these new comers usually cant avail the insurance plan, not instantly atleast, hence they will not be counted in those 30,000 part time workers losing insurance. Hence the old part time workers would be taking the hit. For the full time members, there is a black cloud hovering over them. The cost plan that currently stands at 18.40 dollars for individual coverage every two week pay period will rise up to 21.90 dollars starting this January.

This will leave the full time worker to pay out-of-pocket an annual maximum of 5000 dollars. Let’s sort out how much can illness cost for a worker with a Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (NYSE:WMT) insurance. Initially, the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (NYSE:WMT) employee would have to pay off $2,750 deductible, less the $250 reimbursement, or $2,500. This leaves 27,500 20% of which is $5,500. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (NYSE:WMT)’s full time will be paying around 5000 dollars as well. Similarly if the employee has to stay longer, he will have to pay around 8 to 10 thousand dollars which might not be so much for the well earning employees but not for the bulk of the employees working at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (NYSE:WMT).

13 dollars an hour, a 40 hour week and 52 weeks of work in a year, could leave the employee with a bill of 27,040 without tax. This could translate to a medical debt if the disease is an expensive one. Workers who get into such situations are always gambling with fate; they plunge into a job where they are paid modestly so they can earn enough to survive without thinking about the what if’s which could literally make them penniless. The rich man’s economy structure is the poor man’s noose and part-time workers are currently cursing their luck.