Wal-Mart employee health coverage downsized
Critics say $1000 deductible in Wal-Mart's basic plan all but negates employee's lowered monthly costs.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Wal-Mart Stores will be offering new employees low premium high-deductible plans starting January 1, 2007.

The nation's No. 1 retailer has come under attack in recent years over the availability of its healthcare plan to its low-income workers.

Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman said new health plan, called the Value Plan "will save Wal-Mart Associates money."

The new plan offers $11 monthly premiums and deductibles of $1,000 along with 3 doctor visits and 3 generic prescriptions filled for just the co-pay price before the deductible kicks in.

Traditional plans that offered annual deductibles as low as $350 for a yearly premium of $1,043 for an individual, will be dropped for new hires.

Associates will also be able to add children the plan for an additional $9 per child.

Chris Kofinis of WakeupWalmart.com notes that Wal-Mart only offers catastrophic health coverage that no employee could afford. "God forbid they get sick."

"It's shameful when you consider that 54 percent of their employees don't have healthcare," Kofinis said.

Union-backed WakeupWalmart.com first made the information on the new healthplan public.

"If you look at what associates have been subscribing to most associates took the lowest deductible that we offer. Last year over half of our associates didn't meet their annual deductible," said Fogleman.

"They could have saved money. These are very appealing alternatives for them," he said.

Wal-Mart (up $0.31 to $49.81, Charts), which competes with retailer Target (up $0.32 to $56.24, Charts), has been under pressure to offer low-cost health care.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.