In response to Wal-Mart`s Release of its 2008 Health Care Plan Enrollment numbers, Wal-Mart Watch Executive Director David Nassar today issued the following statement:
"We are surprised that Wal-Mart is proud to report that half its employees choose not to take Wal-Mart`s health care plan, including 7.3% who think Wal-Mart`s plan is worse than nothing at all. In addition, since Wal-Mart neglects to release the enrollment numbers for specific plans, it is impossible to determine if enrolled employees signed up for the cheap plans, which offer little coverage and high deductibles or whether employees signed up for the expensive plans with better coverage. It is likely that Wal-Mart aggressively pushed its employees to sign up for any of its plans to boost its enrollment numbers to quell criticism. Most Wal-Mart employees probably do not have the better plans because those plans are still unaffordable for them. To get a plan with a $700 deductible and $4000 out-of-pocket medical expenses still costs $7000 a year and the average Wal-Mart employee makes approximately $20,000 a year.
"Wal-Mart needs to focus its attention on making substantive changes to its plans rather than manipulating numbers to tell the public relations story it wants. The bottom line is that after nearly three years of criticism, and millions of dollars spent to revamp and promote new plans, Wal-Mart has failed to persuade just an additional three percent of its employees to enroll in the company`s health care plan."
Contact: Stacie Lock Temple, 202.557.7482 or 202.739.1020