Walmart made news recently when it eliminated healthcare insurance for its temporary workers. Only 30,000 out of approximately 1.4 million U.S. employees were affected, according to the company, because only that many part-time workers were receiving insurance benefits.
However, details about the insurance programs provided by Walmart suggest that a bigger story has been overlooked. Even many thousands of full-time workers employed by the company could find that a single serious illness or hospitalization could break them financially with deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses high enough to consume much of a year’s earnings.
“Healthcare costs have increased each year and Walmart has worked hard to avoid passing on costs to our associates,” Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove told me, an observation that would be of no surprise to anyone running a business.
To help contain costs, the company will stop offering healthcare coverage to 30,000 employees who averaged fewer than 30 hours a week over the period from October 5, 2013 to October 5, 2014.