Would you buy health insurance from Wal-Mart? In the market for low, everyday health care? The Nashville Business Journal reports that the Wal-Mart owned membership club, Sam’s Club, has teamed up with an insurance company to offer group health plans to its business members in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Illinois, California, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, Iowa and Indiana. Sam’s apparently wants to roll out this group health plan to small businesses across the country through an “affiliation” with a group called Answer Financial, descibed as an “independent insurance authority.” Sam’s is targeting companies with less than 100 workers, and will offer plans structured as a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) with a range of deductibles and copayments. “Providing insurance is one of the biggest challenges when competing for quality employees and improving retention, a Sam’s club spokesperson, Cara Kinzey said. “As the purchasing agent for small businesses nationwide, Sam’s Club continues to add services that benefit small business owners and enable them to improve their business efficiencies.” Sam’s Club currently offers commercial property, liability, and worker’s compensation insurance. Sam’s Club also offers personal insurance needs, like auto insurance, homeowners, life, and health.
The first enrollee in Wal-Mart’s health plan should be Wal-Mart itself, since more than half of its workers do not get health insurance from their employer. Most Wal-Mart workers are covered by their spouses, or some source outside the company. This is also the company that recently was fined for taking out life insurance on its workers, and naming the company as the beneficiary, instead of the worker’s family. These so-called “dead peasants” life insurance plans were taken out by Wal-Mart without the full understanding of the families affected. For more background on that story, search this database by COLI. So stop by Sam’s Club today and pick up some cheap underwear, and basement priced health care at the same time. Wal-Mart could have a hard time convincing consumers, because health care is one area where consumers don’t want to cut corners just to get the lowest premiums.