By RICHARD POLLOCK | JANUARY 7, 2014 AT 5:05 AM
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.
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