Nov 12 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc's U.S. employees will pay between 8 and 36 percent more in premiums for its medical coverage in 2013, prompting some of the 1.4 million workers at the nation's largest private employer to say they will forego coverage altogether.
In mailings sent to employees for its recently completed open-enrollment period, Wal-Mart noted that its rates would increase because healthcare costs continue to rise. [...]
More than half of Wal-Mart's U.S. employees sign up for its healthcare plans, which cover 1.1 million people, including dependents. Store workers across the country are offered the same plans as executives back at Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.
"Over the past few years we've all seen the cost of health care continue to rise nationwide, and 2013 is no different," Wal-Mart said in a statement. "As a result, we are adjusting rates for some of our health care plan choices. We are doing our best to keep health care costs as low as possible for our associates."
Barbara Andridge, who works at the Walmart in Placerville, California, decided to drop out of a Wal-Mart plan provided for the retailer by a health management organization - when she found out that the cost was set to nearly double to $60 a month. The Wal-Mart HMO plans can be more expensive than Wal-Mart's own.
"Sixty dollars isn't a lot to some people but when I have to think about buying winter clothes for my kids or sending my daughter to college I have to think of what is best for my children," she said. "Hopefully I'm making the right decision."
Andridge, who makes $12.05 an hour and said her husband was laid off this year, knows that she would have had to pay the same $60 monthly premium no matter how many hours she worked.
"Living paycheck to paycheck, I made the decision to swallow my pride and go and get county health," she said in reference to Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid health care program.
At least the Wal-Mart employees in my local area may have a better option than Medicaid:
A grassroots effort to provide volunteer medical care to uninsured Tarrant County residents hit its first-year goal of enrolling 100 patients, and organizers say they hope to expand the program in its second year.
Project Access Tarrant County connected 110 people to a growing network of volunteer providers, including physicians, hospitals and specialty clinics, according to the Tarrant County Medical Society.
“We think it’s only going to ... get better,” said Brian Swift, executive vice president of the medical society. “The reaction from the medical community has been great and we’re figuring out what works and what doesn’t work.”
The medical society and Catholic Charities Fort Worth launched Project Access last year to promote better care and save taxpayer dollars by diverting indigent people away from expensive emergency services. Ideally, patients will get medical conditions treated quickly, allowing them to get back to work and get employer-paid health insurance plans. More than 20 percent of patients who got help have retained jobs or increased their work hours because of it, officials said.
The program is for people who meet income requirements and do not already get benefits from Medicare, Medicaid and JPS Connection, the county’s indigent health-care program. About a quarter of Tarrant County residents are believed to be uninsured.
Read more about this great program here.
Now, it's only a matter of time before Catholic Charities is forced to shut down, being that it's an organization run by the evil anti-gay "marriage" bigots in the Catholic Church. But I'm sure that the grassroots programs like these will do just fine without the help and financing of evil bigoted Catholics, so there's nothing to worry about, right?