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Our healthcare benefit is also vulnerable to attack. ... Walmart's critics can easily exploit some aspects of our benefits offering to make their case; in other words, our critics are correct in some of their observations. ...
On average, associates spend 8% of their income on healthcare (premiums plus deductables) for themselves and their families - nearly twice the national average. The number varies significantly by plan type, rising to 14% for those on the Associate and Spouse plan.
Critics contend the the costliness of the Walmart healtcare coverage causes it to enrole fewer associates in its healthcare insurrance than do most national employers (48% versus 68%).
Associates also face significant financial risk when a medical catastrophy occurs. On the Family Plan, an associate must spend between 74% and 150% of household income on healthcare (approximately $13,000 to $27,000) before insurance coverage takes over completely.Though few associates reach this level of spending, those who do almost certainly end up declaring personal banruptcy. In 2004, 38 percent of enrolled associates spent more than 16% of the average Walmart income on healthcare.
We have a significant number of Walmart Associates and their children who receive health insurance through public assistance programs. Five percent of our associates are on Medicaid to an average for national employers of four percent. Twenty seven percent of associates children are on such programs compared to a national average of 22 percent. In total, 46% of Walmart's Associates children are either on social assistance or are uninsured.
Wal-Mart's not-so-good streak of publicity continues today, with both a rebuke from the Department of Labor's inspector general and the release of a new movie that shows the downside of Wal-Mart's famously low prices. Add that to the leaked benefits memo from last week, and the reasons that Wal-Mart has felt the need set up its own "war room" become increasingly clear.
EDT NOTE: TomPayne links do not get through from Canada Content.