Call them the “working uninsured”. They are the greeters and baggers and stockboys of Wal-Mart, where “full time job” is defined at 28 hours a week or more. According to a story in today’s USA Today, most of the 1.3 million people who are put on the Wal-Mart payroll aren’t put on health insurance. Wal-Mart denies figures cited by the United Food and Commercial Workers that two-thirds of Wal-Mart workers are uninsured. Yet Wal-Mart officials told the newspaper that 75% of their workers are eligible for health insurance, and that 60% of those eligible for the plan actually sign up. Simple Wal-Math tells you that 55% of Wal-Mart workers have no health insurance while on the job. Part-timers have to wait 2 years just to be eligible, and turnover eliminates many of these people from coverage. 55% uninsured translates into roughly 715,000 “associates” who have no health coverage. If these people get sick, they either pay out of pocket for their care, or seek free health care from state or federal taxpayers, at free clinics, or various free care pools. Either way, Wal-Mart is not paying for health care for more than half of its people. Just another way to bring you those everyday low prices.
You will never see a Wal-Mart ad that boasts of “everyday high wages” for its associates, and you’re unlikely see any ads for their health plan either. For more stories on this subject, search this database by the word “health.”