Wal-Mart's Health Insurance Coverage Increases

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Despite retail mega-giant Wal-Mart's announcement today of less than stellar earnings, the company has some good news – more of its employees are enrolled in Wal-Mart’s health insurance plan than last year. The numbers, up to 54 percent from 52 percent, indicate the need for health care reform.

The actual number of Wal-Mart employees who have health insurance coverage, either through Wal-Mart or a private provider, overall, however has declined. Last year 92 percent of its employees held some form of health insurance. This year, only 87 percent are covered. This is due in part to recession and many spouses losing jobs and coverage.

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Many of these covered opt for state assisted programs to cover them. Nearly 43,000 of Wal-Mart’s employees across the nation choose state programs over over that of Wal-Mart's. This has drawn the ire of many employee advocacy groups who criticize Wal-Mart for not enrolling more employees in its own plan.

Wal-Mart health insurance provides coverage for up to 80 percent, of eligible services, immunizations for kids, annual checkups for each covered family member, as well as $4 generic prescriptions. The company also offers programs for maternity leave, an eyewear program, disability and sick leave.

To the surprise of many, Wal-Mart announced its approval of the idea that big companies ought to provide health insurance for all of their employees. It even joined its critic, the Service Employees International Union, in an endorsement for the cause.

Written by Lani Shadduck

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