Let me preface this post by saying that I am usually not too impressed with Wal-Mart. I think that their lowest-price-at-any-cost strategy is not the best long-range plan in terms of caring for our Earth and its inhabitants. The Wal-Mart news of the day is about their new super-low priced generic drug program. The news article points out that Wal-Mart's health insurance plan has come under fire because it has a $1,000 deductible for individuals and $3,000 deductible for families. And people think this is bad? Are you kidding me? Obviously people have lost sight of the fact that insurance is an aleatory contract. It was never designed to cover every sniffle, sneeze, and hangnail. People need to take some responsibility for their own basic health, and realize that if they know they'll go to the doctor 3 or 4 times a year, that's not something that insurance was ever supposed to cover - BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY'RE GOING TO BE NEEDING IT. Insurance is supposed to cover the things that we don't expect. Things like cancer, car accidents, heart attacks, appendicitis... Small medical expenses (under $1000 is a good example of small when it comes to medical bills) are something that we expect to have, so we should expect to pay for them. Wal-Mart's main health insurance flaw - in my opinion - is how few of their employees qualify for benefits.
Wal-Mart encourages its employees to apply for welfare and Medicaid rather than provide adequate and affordable coverage. CEO Lee Scott said “In some of our states, the public program may actually be a better value.” The vast majority of workers qualify for public assistance, which costs the state of California over $75 million a year - just for Wal-Mart employees who do not receive adequate benefits.
I think that making benefits available to more of their workforce should be a priority, but a $1,000 deductible is not bad coverage for those that qualify, and no one should be complaining about that aspect of Wal-Mart's policy. People with Wal-Mart's insurance will be taken care of in the event that they have a serious illness or injury, which is really what health insurance is all about.
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