Hartford, CT. Wal-Mart Tops List of Medicaid Recipients Again
Once again, Wal-Mart stores in Connecticut have the largest number of employees and dependents on Medicaid. According to a July 22, 2011 report from the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research, Wal-Mart ranked number 1 as the company with the most workers receiving HUSKY health insurance benefits, as Medicaid is known in Connecticut.
Compared to a 2005 analysis, Wal-Mart's total number of Medicaid recipients has risen by nearly 64%, from 2,232 to 3,654 in 2011.
Two years ago, a similar study placed Wal-Mart at the top of the list of 25 companies with the highest number of workers on Medicaid. The list also includes dependent children of employees on Medicaid. HUSKY protects families earning up $41,348 for a family of four.
Wal-Mart was not alone on the list for national chain stores. Home Depot, Macy's, CVS, Walgreens, Kohl's and JC Penney also made it to the top 25 list of Medicaid employees. The list was taken as of May 24th. The 25 employers total more than 25,000 HUSKY recipients. The report examines individual employers, and does not list self-employed workers, or the state.
Similar Medicaid studies conducted in other states like Wisconsin, Iowa, Massachusetts and Ohio, show similar results: Wal-Mart has the largest number of Medicaid recipients on its payroll. In Ohio, the cost of supporting Wal-Mart workers on Medicaid cost state and federal taxpayers nearly $45 million in 2009 alone. In a 2009 Massachusetts study, Wal-Mart ranked #1 on the list of large employers with subsidized health care. A total of 4,796 Wal-Mart workers relied on state and federal taxpayers for their health care support. Adding workers and dependents, Wal-Mart cost Massachusetts $15.5 million that year. This is more than twice the subsidy of $7.223 million for Wal-Mart workers and dependents as reported in 2006. As of March, 2009, Wal-Mart had 11,681 workers in Massachusetts. The state report means that at least 4 out of 10 Wal-Mart full-time employees are using state-subsidized health care.
What you can do: Wal-Mart, which likes to promote the attractiveness of its employee health plans, still remains at the top of most state lists for Medicaid recipients. According to a January, 2010 literature review compiled by New York City's Public Advocate's office, Wal-Mart's health care plan incldues a low premium of $27 per pay period for family coverage, or $702 a year in premiuims. But the plan also has a high annual deductible of $4,400, which means that a family would have to spend $5,102 of their own money on health care before Wal-Mart's insurance kicks in. Based on the average salary of a Wal-Mart worker, this payment represents almost 25% of their annual income. For this reason, many employees choose to enroll in Medicaid instead.