This sends the burden of coverage for some workers to the new healthcare system and to Medicaid.
The latest updates to Walmart’s company policy have revealed that the largest employer in the United States, Walmart, will not be providing health insurance to its new hires when they will be employed for a workweek that is shorter than 30 hours.
The new policy will also allow coverage to be denied to current workers if their weekly hours fall.
Employees whose hours drop below the 30 hours per week mark may also find themselves losing the health insurance coverage that they already have, according to the new policy. Unfortunately, these dips in hours happen quite frequently among the company’s employees, particularly among the managers. These changes are scheduled to go into effect as of January, 2013.
The percentage of Walmart’s 1.4 million worker population affected by the health insurance changes is unknown.
The massive retailer has chosen not to reveal how many of its employees could potentially be losing their health insurance coverage under the new policy. David Tovar, a Walmart spokesperson, released an emailed statement that said that the company had “made a business decision” and that it would not be responding to accusations from the media that say that it is providing unfair coverage.
The choice that Walmart has made to deny health insurance to employees with shorter workweeks in order to limit costs is also allowing the company to take advantage of the healthcare reforms that will be going into effect in just over a year’s time, say some industry experts. In some states, one of the key changes made to the coverage systems is an expansion of the Medicaid program.
Labor Research Center chairman, Ken Jacobs, from the University of California, Berkeley, said that “Walmart is effectively shifting the costs of paying for its employees onto the federal government with this new plan, which is one of the problems with the way the law is structured.”
To many, it also appears that Walmart’s health insurance plan decision is taking a step backward, beyond the time seven years ago when the public criticized the fact that its employees could not find affordable benefits, which caused it to expand its coverage in the first place.