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View Full Version : Surprise! Walmart health plan is cheaper, offers more coverage than Obamacare



Elspeth
01-07-2014, 08:49 PM
And they don't have to bully nuns to do it.

Surprise! Walmart health plan is cheaper, offers more coverage than Obamacare
http://washingtonexaminer.com/surprise-walmart-health-plan-cheaper-offers-more-coverage-than-obamacare/article/2541670

New Obamacare health insurance enrollees may feel a pang of envy when they eye the coverage plans offered by Walmart to its employees.

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 furnished employee benefit information to the Examiner. Neither Obamacare advocate Families USA nor the United Food and Commercial Workers, which backs anti-Walmart campaigns, responded to Examiner requests for comment.

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....