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Walmart, America’s largest employer, announced that it will stop providing health insurance for around 30,000 part time workers, in order to cut costs.
Soon after announcing the plans to cut their worker’s health insurance, Wal-Mart revealed their plans to work with DirectHealth.com to allow shoppers to compare coverage options and enroll in Medicare plans or the public exchange plans created under the Affordable Care Act.
In a corporate blog post with the Orwellian headline “Providing Quality Health Benefits for Our Associates,” a WM executive wrote, “We will continue to provide affordable health care to all eligible associates, including part-time, who work more than 30 hours. However, similar to other retailers like Target, Home Depot, Walgreens and Trader Joe’s, we will no longer be providing health benefits to part-time associates who work less than 30 hours. This will impact about 2% of our total U.S. workforce”
Imagine if you were a Walmart employee working 28 hours per week right now. Imagine what choices you face right now.
A couple of quick thoughts:
1. Employees tend to work fewer than 30 hours not because that is all they want to work, but because that is all the hours the company will give them, because companies do not want to allow workers to go full time.
2. Walmart has enough extra cash to raise employee salaries by 50% if it wanted to. Health insurance for 30,000 workers costs only a small percentage of this.
3. Four members of the Walton family, who inherited the Walmart fortune, are together worth more than $140 billion. If they were so inclined, these four people could pay the $500 million increase inWalmart’s employee health insurance costs (covering 100,000 new workers) for the next 280 years.