By Christie Duffy
Walmart is cutting health care coverage to some part-time workers. Thirty thousand employees working 30 hours or less per week will have to enroll elsewhere. The retail giant cited growing costs as the reason.
But are these workers better off?
“In terms of what they will get and the cost at which they’ll get it, yes I think the majority of people will be better off,” said Maura Collinsgru of New Jersey Citizen Action.
Collinsgru is an advocate for New Jersey health care consumers. She says the trend of companies cutting back on coverage is not new.
A Walmart spokesperson says major companies like Target, Home Depot and UPS all preceded them in rescinding health plans.
“Those plans were not as comprehensive or affordable to most of those employees. So with the coming online of the marketplace consumers were better off in being able to access more affordable and comprehensive coverage,” Collinsgru said.
As for the Walmart workers who may now be shopping on the public marketplace for the first time, the retailer says they plan to help the part-timers get enrolled.
And for an individual making $19,000 per year living in South Jersey, you’ll likely end up paying around $894 per year through the public exchange.
“The premium would be about $75 a month for an individual with that profile. But that individual would also see lower out of pocket costs, like their copays, what they pay to go to a physician, that would be lower,” said Collinsgru.
This comes just one day after Walmart announced it will start doing the same thing for customers.
Beginning as early as next week, Walmart will start signing seniors up for Medicare in stores, just in time for the enrollment period which starts next week. For shoppers under 65, the retailer plans to offer information on health exchange plans and guidance on how to sign up online.
For those part-time workers losing coverage, Walmart says they can expect to get more information in the mail in the next couple of days.
The change will take effect when the year ends.
Open enrollment in the public marketplace starts up again on Nov. 15.
Walmart Stores That Will Offer Medicare Enrollment (By Town in New Jersey):
Bayonne – 500 Bayonne Crossing Way
Berlin – 265 North Route 73
Branchburg – 3576 U.S. Highway 22
Brick – 1872 Route 88
Clinton – Route 513 and I-78
East Windsor – 839 U.S. Highway 130
Flemington – 152 Route 31 North
Freehold – 326 West Main St.
Garfield – 174 Passaic St.
Hamilton – 700 Marketplace Boulevard
Howell – 4900 U.S. Highway 9
Kearny – 150 Harrison Ave.
Lanoka Harbor – 580 U.S. Highway 9
Linden – 1601 West Edgar Road
Manahawkin – 525 Route 72 West
Manville – 100 North Main St.
Mays Landing – 4620 Black Horse Pike
Neptune – 3575 State Route 66
North Bergen – 2100 88th St.
North Brunswick – 979 Route 1 South
Old Bridge – 2825 Highway Route 18
Old Bridge – 1126 U.S. Highway 9
Phillipsburg – 1300 U.S. Highway 22
Piscataway – 1303 Centennial Ave.
Princeton – 101 Nassau Park Boulevard
Riverdale – 48 State Route 23
Rockaway – 220 Enterprise Drive
Saddle Brook – 189 U.S. Highway 46
Secaucus – 400 Park Place
Somerdale – 1 Coopertown Boulevard
Toms River – 950 Route 37 West
Turnersville – 3501 Route 42
Union – 900 Springfield Road
Vineland – 1070 West Landis Ave.
Watchung – 1501 U.S. Highway 22
Williamstown – 1840 South Black Horse Pike
Woodbridge – 306 U.S. Highway 9 North