Back in 2005, a memo from Walmart’s then-Vice President of Benefits, Susan Chambers, outlined a strategy for how the company could remove sick workers from the payrolls and avoid paying healthcare benefits. More recently, premiums on Walmart’s health plans have soared, and the company has cut eligibility considerably.
- Starting in 2015, Walmart cut coverage for anyone working less than 30 hours per week.
- In the last five years, the cost of Walmart’s cheapest healthcare plan has more than doubled.
- Hundreds of thousands of Walmart workers and their family members qualify for publicly funded health insurance.
Walmart’s health care plans fail to cover hundreds of thousands of associates. In 2009, Walmart claimed that 52% of associates were covered under its healthcare plan. The company has refused to disclose coverage rates for its 1.5 million U.S. employees since then.
In recent years, Walmart has made it even more difficult for associates to get quality health care for themselves and their families. The company stopped offering health insurance to part-time employees working less than 24 hours per week in 2012, and starting in 2015, it cut coverage for anyone working less than 30 hours per week, including those who had previously been grandfathered in. In the last five years, the cost of Walmart’s cheapest healthcare plan has more than doubled. The cost of many of the company’s family plans has more than quadrupled over that time period.
For employees earning Walmart’s starting rate of $9.00/hour working an average of 34 hours per week, the deductible alone on Walmart’s cheapest plan for workers with children is over a third of the employee’s annual gross income.
Taxpayers are forced to provide healthcare for Walmart’s employees. Hundreds of thousands of workers and their family members qualify for publicly funded health insurance. Indeed, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First, in 21 of 23 states that have disclosed information, Walmart has the largest number of employees on the public rolls of any employer.
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. Walmart’s 2016 Associate Benefits Book, distributed to employees, advertises Medicaid and CHIP premium assistance programs, including contact information for assistance programs by state.