Healthcare

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What Walmart Says…

“As an employer, providing our associates and their families with health care coverage is a priority for Walmart. We are continually working to expand affordable access to care for our Walmart and Sam’s Club associates and their families.”[1]

Walmart claims to insure more than 1 million people in the US.[2]

Walmart believes employers should be required to provide health benefits for their employees. “At Walmart, we believe in shared responsibility and support an employer mandate that is broad and fair. We believe the mandate should cover as many businesses as possible, and cover part-time as well as full-time employees.”[3]

What Walmart Doesn’t Say…

Walmart’s health care plans fail to cover hundreds of thousands of associates. In 2009, Walmart claimed that 52% of associates were covered under their healthcare plan. The company has refused to disclose coverage rates for its 1.4 million U.S. employees since then.[4]

Walmart stopped offering health insurance to part-time employees (working less than 24 hours per week) in 2012.[5]

Taxpayers are forced to provide healthcare for Walmart’s Associates. Hundreds of thousands of Associates and their family members qualify for publicly funded health insurance.[6] Indeed, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First, in 21 of 23 states which have disclosed information, Walmart has the largest number of employees on the public rolls of any employer.[7]

Recent Analysis:

  • Missouri: In early 2011, Walmart led all employers with 10,028 employees and their dependents enrolled in Missouri’s Medicaid program, known as MO HealthNet (MHN). Enrollees included 2,403 employees, 827 employee spouses, and 6,798 children of employees.[8]
  • Massachusetts: In FY09, Walmart led all employers with 10,171 employees and their dependents using publicly subsidized health care. Enrollees included 5,072 employees and 5,699 dependents.[9]
  • Connecticut: In 2011, Walmart topped the list of Medicaid employers. As of May 2011, 3,654 Medicaid enrollees in the state were either Walmart associates (1,189 recipients) or the children of associates (2,465 recipients).[10]

Even for employees who are eligible for coverage from Walmart, the costs of the plans that the company offers are unaffordable for many hourly associates, who earn an average of just $8.81 per hour.[11] Walmart’s 2012 Associate Benefits Book, distributed to employees, advertises Medicaid and CHIP premium assistance programs for employees who eligible for Walmart’s health insurance but are “unable to afford the premiums.” The book then lists contact information for assistance programs by state.[12]

In a “NOW with Bill Moyers” interview from December 19, 2003, former Walmart Manager Gretchen Adams said the company encouraged associates to enroll in public assistance programs: “The personnel office will generally keep lists for their territory, for their town –because so many of the associates cannot afford the healthcare. So being that whenever they do have an issue or a problem that comes up and they come to the office then they – personnel has a list of the state agencies so that we could have some place to send these associates.”[13]

Despite over $12 billion in profits, former President and CEO Lee Scott admitted in 2005, “In some of our states, the public program may actually be a better value – with relatively high income limits to qualify, and low premiums.”[14]

In fall 2011, Walmart made it even more difficult for associates to get quality health care for themselves and their families. Beginning with the 2012 enrollment period, Walmart rolled back health care coverage for part part-time employees and raised premiums for full-time employees by as much as 63% for non-smokers and their families and as much as 162% for smokers with families. . For employees earning $8.81/hour working an average of 34 hours per week, some of Walmart’s 2012 healthcare plans would cost between 77% and 104% of the employee’s annual gross income.[15]


[1] “Health & Wellness.” Walmart Corporate. http://walmartstores.com/HealthWellness/, accessed 3.2.12.

[2]  “Health and Wellness Fact Sheet.” Walmart Corporate. Available online at: www.walmartstores.com, accessed 3.2.12.

[3] “Walmart Statement Regarding Health Care Reform.” Walmart Corporate. 26 July 2010. http://walmartstores.com/pressroom/news/9238.aspx, accessed 3.2.12.

[4] Steven Greenhouse and Reed Abelson, “Walmart Cuts Some Health Benefits”, New York Times, 20 Oct 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/21/business/wal-mart-cuts-some-health-care-benefits.html?pagewanted=all, accessed 3.2.12.

[5] Steven Greenhouse and Reed Abelson, “Walmart Cuts Some Health Benefits”, New York Times, 20 Oct 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/21/business/wal-mart-cuts-some-health-care-benefits.html?pagewanted=all, accessed 3.2.12.

[6] In 2006, 5% of Walmart employees and 27% of Walmart employees’ children received Medicaid or CHIP health insurance, according to a company memo published by the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/business/26walmart.pdf). Applied to today’s employment levels, if just half of Walmart employees had only one child, a conservative estimate, almost 260,000 Walmart employees and their children would be receiving Medicaid or CHIP.

[7] “Hidden Taxpayer Costs: Disclosures of Employers Whose Workers and Their Dependents are Using State Health Insurance Programs.” Good Jobs First. Updated January 18, 2012. Available online at: http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/corporate-subsidy-watch/hidden-taxpayer-costs, accessed 3.2.12.

[8] Missouri Department of Social Services, MO HealthNet Employer Match Report: First Quarter 2011, October 31, 2011; online at http://dss.mo.gov/mhd/general/pdf/emp-match.pdf, accessed 3.2.12.

[9] Deval Patrick, Judyann Bigby, Timothy P. Murray and David Morales, “Employers Who Had Fifty or More Employees Using MassHealth, Commonwealth Care, or the Health Safety Net in State FY09” Appendix 5. Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, June 2010. http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dhcfp/r/pubs/10/50-plus-employers-appendices-5-and-6.pdf, accessed 3.2.12.

[10] Matthew Sturdevant, “Report: Top 25 Connecticut Employers Whose Workers Are On Medicaid,” Hartford Courant, 9 Aug 2011

[11] Gross, Courtney. “Is Walmart Worse?” Gotham Gazette. 14 February 2011.  http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/searchlight/20110214/203/3463, accessed 3.2.12.

[12] Walmart Associate Benefits Book 2012.

[13] “NOW with Bill Moyers” interview transcript,  19 Dec 2003

[14] Susan Bucher, “Walmart: the $288 billion welfare queen” Tallahassee Democrat, 19 Apr 2005

[15]  Calculations based on Walmart’s 2011 and 2012 Annual Enrollment Guides.