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WalMart Health Plan Better, Cheaper Than O-Care

From the Washington Examiner:

Surprise! Walmart health plan is cheaper, offers more coverage than Obamacare

By RICHARD POLLOCK | JANUARY 7, 2014

… For many years, the giant discount retailer has been the target of unions and liberal activists who have harshly criticized the company’s health care plans, calling them “notorious for failing to provide health benefits” and "substandard.”

But a Washington Examiner comparison of the two health insurance programs found that Walmart’s plan is more affordable and provides significantly better access to high-quality medical care than Obamacare.

Independent insurance agents affiliated with the National Association of Health Underwriters and health policy experts compared the two at the request of the Examiner…

Walmart offers its employees two standard plans, a Health Reimbursement Account and an alternative it calls "HRA High" that costs more out of employees’ pockets but has lower deductibles. Blue Cross Blue Shield manages both plans nationally.

Also offered is a Health Savings Account plan that includes high deductibles but allows tax-free dollars to be used for coverage.

For a monthly premium as low as roughly $40, an individual who is a Walmart HRA plan enrollee can obtain full-service coverage through a Blue Cross Blue Shield preferred provider organization. A family can get coverage for about $160 per month.

Unlike Obamacare, there are no income eligibility requirements. Age and gender do not alter premium rates. The company plan is the same for all of Walmart’s 1.1 million enrolled employees and their dependents, from its cashiers to its CEO.

A Journal of the American Medical Association analysis from September showed that unsubsidized Obamacare enrollees will face monthly premiums that are five to nine times higher than Walmart premiums.

JAMA found the unsubsidized premium for a nonsmoking gouple age 60 can cost $1,365 per month versus the Walmart cost of about $134 for the same couple. The medical journal reported a 30-year-old smoker would pay up to $428 per month, in contrast to roughly $70 each month for a Walmart employee.

A family of four could pay a $962 premium, but the same Walmart family member would pay about $160.

Low premiums are not the only distinguishing feature of the Walmart plan. The retailer’s employees can use eight of the country’s most prestigious medical facilities, including the Mayo Clinic, Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic.

At these institutions, which Walmart calls "Centers of Excellence," Walmart employees and their dependents can get free heart or spinal surgery. They can also get free knee and hip replacements at four hospitals nationwide. Many top-rated Walmart hospitals — such as the Mayo and Cleveland clinics — are left out of most Obamacare exchange plans.

But the real difference between Obamacare and Walmart can be seen in the levels of day-to-day access to doctors and hospitals. Robert Slayton, a practicing Chicago independent insurance agent for 11 years and the former president of the Illinois State Association of Health Underwriters, described to the Examiner the differences between Walmart and Obamacare provider networks.

Slayton said the BlueChoice exchange network for President Obama’s hometown has very limited hospital participation. “In downtown Chicago, the key is the number of hospitals: 28,” he said… Slayton said the gap between doctor availability in Chicago under the Obamacare and Walmart plans is dramatic.

“You will notice there are 9,837 doctors [under Obamacare]. But the larger network is 24,904 doctors. Huge, huge difference,” he said.

Walmart also offers a free preventive health plan that mirrors the Obamacare plan. Its employees can take advantage of a wide range of free exams and counseling, including screenings for colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, chlamydia, diabetes, depression and special counseling for diet and obesity.

Their children can get more than 20 free preventive services, ranging including screenings for genetic disorders, autism and developmental problems to obesity, lead poisoning exposure and tuberculosis. There are also 12 free vaccinations, and free hearing and vision testing.

Walmart employees pay as little as $4 for a 30-day supply of generic drugs and only $10 for eye exams through a separate vision plan

Walmart also gives cash to its employees for any health care expense. The annual payments run from $250 to $1,000 and are given at the beginning of the enrollment year in an account that can only be used for health care expenses.

Walmart individuals face a $2,750 deductible and families need to pay $5,500 under the HRA plan. Individuals pay $1,750 and families pay $3,500 deductibles under the HRA High plan.

The deductibles are high, but Obamacare deductibles are higher, going up to $6,300, according to [David] Todd, [an independent insurance agent based in Little Rock, Arkansas].

Todd looked at a 30-year-old woman who could qualify for the government subsidy. “The nonsubsidized premium is $205 a month for this 30-year-old. If they get a subsidy, then the premium is zero. But that person has to come up with $6,300 if something catastrophic happened,” he said.

The Walmart monthly premium for the same 30-year-old woman would be about $40. Her deductible would be $2,750, minus $250 in cash advance, for a total net deductible of $2,500.

Todd said some Obamacare exchange family plan deductibles can go as high as $12,000 before benefits kick in."

In other words, WalMart’s employee health insurance plan beats Obama-Care by every measure. Lower premiums. Lower deductibles. More doctors and hospitals. And WalMart’s insurance is accepted at more high end hospitals, unlike Obama-Care.

So how come evil WalMart can provide better healthcare coverage than the all knowing, all-powerful federal government can?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “WalMart Health Plan Better, Cheaper Than O-Care”

  1. canary

    Finally, they fixed the Obama Care site that’s not evasive and user friendly to check out plans and rates. Go to link and click on “want to learn more first” or “apply now”

    http://home.roadrunner.com/~pjrpole/ACA.html

  2. bousquem25

    I used to work for Wal-mart before moving over to my current job. The only complaint I had about the healthcare plan was I contributed money into a fund the company was supposed to match it in the HRA fund so that in theory it would cover part of the deductible. Came to find out when I got a bill for lab work, that money wasn’t supposed to be used until the deductible was met, allegedly. That was more of a BCBS being asses than anything else.

    I live in the hellhole of Taxachusettes for now but the stupid exchange is a huge mess. I got a letter saying I needed to re-enroll in a healthplan for the new year, which I did back in late October. Now I get a letter saying I need to re-enroll because my commonwealth choice plan (from the health connector) is being stopped as of March 31st. I’ve already paid my premiums for the new plan for Jan and now Feb, but apparently I need to now send all these forms saying I want to cancel my policy that ends in march because of I have a new policy through MAhealthconnector.org which is the state exchange because they’ll continue to bill me for the plan that is being cancelled. After about an hour of playing IVR phone tag and getting switched to 6 different people including the medicaid line twice I get a line of Commonwealth Choice and Healthconnector being two different things and they aren’t allowed to share data of who is being rolled over from one plan to another even though people like me signed up for the same plan we had before. The freaking state runs both places so I don’t see any problems with that and my mother who worked high up in IT for a massive life insurance company agrees that the line of them not being able to share data is B.S.

    As a note, my insurance cards have the same subscriber ID because its the same plan but my copays jumped. the ER went from $100 to $350, same day surgery from like $200 to around $750 and inpatient from $500 to $1000. I think my premium maybe changed a couple of bucks for all of that and I’m a healthy late 20’s male. FYI my premium is a little north of $300 for a silver plan as that’s the only one that my doctors take and are covered by.

  3. Obamacare is meant to CAUSE PAIN, much the same way the Sequester, and Government Shut-Down was meant to cause pain to our military and children. All democrat politics is meant to cause pain, because when there is pain, there is a demand for change, which means MORE democrat union thugs can be hired to “fix” the problem, and of course there is an excuse to raise taxes to redirect into the pockets of the new voters, uh, employees.

    Every new program will be an excuse to STUFF THE BALLOT BOX with democrat people and supporters. Look at all the jobs that were created just to market Obamacare, and pay democrats to sign people up for Obamacare? –SCAM

  4. I go to a Witch doctor. He takes chickens in trade. About the same as Obamacare but without all the middlemen …


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