Wal-Mart Health Plan
Wal-Mart employees will have more health plan options by late 2006 as a result of voluntary measurers by the company's management. The changes come as the company was under pressure from state legislatures across the country to take responsibility for some of the health care expense for its 150,000 part-time workers. Although the new benefits will not be available until later in 2006, employees can act immediately to position themselves to gain the greatest advantage and possibly save some money on health plan expenses before the changes take place. OnlineAdviser modified its standard recommendations for Wal-mart employees.
OnlineAdviser service at MedSave.com occasionally receives questions from Wal-mart employees about available low cost health insurance options. Since late 2005, OnlineAdviser advised a "wait and see" approach for Wal-Mart employees facing difficult health coverage decisions. Previously a large number of these employees were eligible to state-assisted health plans but a number of states are cutting back on Medicaid eligibility. Those not eligible for state-paid health benefits were often unable to afford the cost of commercial health insurance. Now that employer-sponsored health plan is available through Wal-mart, employees may compare that coverage to other options available in their area to determine the best value.
This article does not address questions about any health plans sold by Wal-mart to the public.
Changes to employer-provided benefits
Part-time Wal-Mart employees are now be eligible for health benefits after one year of employment. Formerly employees had to wait two years until health benefits were available. The benefits enrollment period was initially held in he summer of 2007 and is expected to be open to employees periodically thereafter.
Employees will now be allowed to cover their children.
Employees will continue to contribute to the cost of this insurance through voluntary salary deductions. Wal-mart emphasizes that the benefits formula for part-time employees is now the same as for full-time employees, with the exception of the waiting period.
Core Health Insurance and Value Med insurance is available to the public in most states and may be the most comparable limited benefit health insurance. These are both limited benefit renewable (long term) health insurance plans with liberal eligibility and coverage for pre-existing conditions after a waiting period.
An even less expensive coverage called Basic Health Insurance is available but as the name implies this provides an even lower level of benefits.
Short term medical insurance available for one month to 36 months is also a low cost/high quality insurance option. This is full major medical insurance with a specified ending date. Based on our history of questions from Wal-mart employees, this type of coverage is often the better choice.