Georgia Wal-Mart Health Insurance = Tax Dollars Not Well Spent
Is Georgia Wal-Mart health insurance too expensive for its employees to afford? Or is Wal-Mart not offering health insurance to them at all? Whatever the case is, Georgia Wal-Mart health insurance is costing Georgia taxpayers a bundle.
In 1998 Georgia began a new health care program for children whose parents could not get or could not afford health insurance. By 2002 this program had already enrolled 166,000 children. Of that 166,000 children, 10,261 had a parent who worked for, guess who. If you guessed Wal-Mart, you are correct. Now, guess who is footing the bill for those 10,261 kids’ state paid health insurance. That’s right. You are. It’s paid for with your tax money.
Is it just Georgia Wal-Mart health insurance that is lacking? Hardly. According to the Census Bureau, in 2004 there were 150,050,000 people employed in the United States and their employers were spending $4,389 on average in health insurance per worker. Wal-Mart in 2004 had 1,351,634 employees and spent an average of $1,169 per year per employee on Wal-Mart health insurance. That was down from $1,212 in 2003. It has only gotten worse from there.
In 2005, and estimated $1,371,922,293 (That’s Billion) was spent from taxpayer money to give state funded health insurance to Wal-Mart dependents. $58,027,172 of that came from Georgia. Though Wal-Mart has promised to find more affordable health insurance options for its employees, this has yet to happen according to the numbers. The amount of Wal-Mart dependents on public health insurance continues to grow in every state. And Wal-Mart continues to build more and more stores, adding to the problem.
There are a few theories on why Wal-Mart employees don’t have Wal-Mart health insurance in Georgia, or any state for that matter. One school of thought is that Wal-Mart employees are underpaid. This may be true, but the continuous rise in the cost of absolutely everything in this country makes it difficult for even middle income families to afford health insurance.
So should Wal-Mart give all of their employees raises so that they can afford walmart health insurance? That’s not likely the answer. Think about it. If you are a Wal-Mart employee who is getting public health insurance already, would a 20 cent an hour raise allow you to afford walmart health insurance? And if it did, would you take it? You probably would not because you likely still qualify for free health insurance from Georgia.
So in this scenario it seems to be a catch-22. Wal-Mart won’t give raises across the board in amounts to get their employees out of poverty, and even if they did give raises that would help pay for walmart health insurance, the employees would probably not even take it, they would take the extra money on their paychecks instead.
The other theory that I came across is that walmart health insurance is just too expensive for employees to afford. Even in Georgia, where the cost of living is mediocre compared to many other parts of the country, Georgia walmart health insurance is just too costly for employees to afford on their wages. What is the solution here? It’s quite simple, really. Walmart needs to find a lower cost health insurance option for their employees. And then they need to make it available to them.
Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. It really doesn’t matter how much Walmart health insurance costs, it’s not available to most of the employees of Wal-Mart. This is why. Wal-Mart, along with most retailers these days, does not hire full time employees 90% of the time.
In these large retail establishments the only people who get full time work (and full time benefits) are those in supervisory or administrative positions. Guess how I know this. Because until very recently I worked for more than a year at one of Wal-Mart’s biggest competitors; first as a part time employee and then full time after I was promoted to a supervisory position.
While they did offer insurance to part timers, by the time you paid for it, there would be very little left of your part time paycheck.
Georgia, you’re not alone. Wal-Mart is sucking money out of taxpayers’ pockets all over the country. One of the hardest hit states just happens to be Georgia. walmart health insurance, or lack of, is costing you all a ton of money.