Wal-Mart mulls health coverage for small businesses
The retail giant isn't committing yet. Wal-Mart has a big investment in its pharmacies but has been cautious on where it takes the business.
Just last week, there was talk the company might offer health insurance coverage to small businesses, a group that has trouble buying coverage at reasonable rates.
Sounds like the company might be thinking about organizing a health-care exchange targeting small businesses.
Maybe not. A company spokeswoman told Bloomberg Businessweek the company was evaluating the idea. But, she added, "Wal-Mart does not currently have plans for a private health insurance exchange."
Next, the Orlando Business Journal's Abraham Aboraya, who started all this speculation, quoted a Wal-Mart executive as saying it will open primary care clinics in five to seven years. But, no, maybe not. Later, the company told Aboraya that there was no big plan for primary care.
So it's all very confusing. The larger trend is, however, that small-business health insurance exchanges are starting to get organized. It may be that a Wal-Mart or a Costco Wholesale (COST) may be involved, as opposed to exchanges set up by states, because they have the expertise on negotiating plans covering many thousands of people, particularly Costco.
At the same time, big retail chains, like Wal-Mart, Costco and Target (TGT) which already have large pharmacy operations and offer flu shots and the like, are looking to make their stores one-stop destinations for everything, including outpatient clinics.
They're following the lead of CVS Caremark's (CVS) MinuteClinics and Walgreen's (WAG) Take Care clinics, which have opened in some 800 locations.
The goal of the clinics is not just to provide service. Clinics bring customers into stores and may generate other sales in addition to an immunization or, say, a flu shot, says Patricia Edwards, chief investment officer of Trutina Financial in Bellevue, Wa. Plus they offer the customer quick service and reasonable cost, especially to those without health insurance.
Wal-Mart's health-and-wellness business segment, which includes pharmacy services and over-the-counter drugs, accounted for 11% of the company's $264.2 billion in U.S. sales in the 2012 fiscal year. The fiscal year ends on Jan. 31.
It has dabbled in primary-care clinics, prompted by a pledge from former CEO Lee Scott to open as many as 2,000 clinics by 2012. The total, however, is less than 150 today, in part because, as The Wall Street Journal noted last summer, its original strategy of simply leasing space in a store to a clinic operator didn't work.
A big issue is what the clinics were for. Wal-Mart wanted them to offer simple care. The operators were often large hospital chains that saw the clinics as a means to pull patients into their facilities, The Journal said.
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This from a company that won't give employees enough hours to qualify for insurance. UGH!!
My wife is WalMart employee and we both have health insurance through her job. We never have had problems getting coverage including two major surgeries and a couple of chronic conditions.
Apparently some people think they have no personal responsibility for themselves and it everything they get out of live is not free it costs too much.
Is it possible that these people's attitude towards life explains why so many of them are at the low end?
Do not trust Wal-Mart. They even have figured out ways to screw their workers out of insurance. Can you figure the BS you would get trying to make a claim. They are out for max $$ intake and minimum $$ output. When they start buying more American made products maybe I will start trusting them a little more; MAYBE!!! Does anyone remember when Wal-Mart prided themselves in buying locally made and produced goods to help boost the local economy? Seems that does not happen anymore.
I refuse to patronize Wal-Mart until they change their tactics. I will pay extra at a local store that has a majority of its stock American made and pay the little extra just to keep the money local.
Everytime I read complaints about Walmart having unfair wages and not providing insurance for their employees and such all I can do is shake my head. I work for a very popular retail store which is in the fortune 500 and guess what- Walmart employees as a whole are actually paid more then the average salary my company pays. We have the option of opting in to sub-standard health/dental care plans at a cost that sometimes exceeds our paychecks due to the lack of work hours given (and do read the fine lines of the health/dental care coverage you are actually offered to opt in to as you will find most likely at the time you need the services the most that alot of basic services are not even covered under the plans you are paying for out-of-pocket/paycheck).That being said, I don't understand why people are constantly pointing the fingers at Walmart while knowing from experience that there are other well known and respected companies that do not pay their employees past the minimum wage standard either.
...and if it's the goods from China being sold at Walmart that seem to be offending people - spend a day shopping at different stores and see how many items you can buy anywhere that are American made- I found zero in 2 hours worth of time shuffling through everything from socks to coats to pajamas in several different stores. It won't take any time at all once you start opening your eyes to realize that products from even well-established and trusted companies such as Hanes or Levis are no longer made in the good old USA. Wake up people- until we start finding solutions to bring our businesses and jobs back to America there will be nothing made in the USA- this is not just a problem centering around Walmart.....it's everywhere.
Every business/company that moves their manufacturing to another country tears this country down and the fabric that made us once so great down bit by bit until one day we will be one of the third world countries dependant on every other country for everything from the fuel we need for heat and transportation, to the clothing/shoes we wear, to the food we eat and the only people that will be standing tall will be the greedy corporate/ 1% that turned their backs on the very country that made them what they are...and also what they are becomming.
You liberals really like coming down on corporations don't you. You think every corporation out there should offer healthcare to ever they hire well what you think's going to happen with Obama care fully kicks in. Well it's going to work like this even Ford, Chrysler and GM will not be offering insurance for their employees anymore, especially new hires why is this why should they if the government's going to go into the healthcare business. So the government can can supply the healthcare not the corporations they rather pay the penalty them pay the healthcare cost for Blue Shield Blue Cross plan for a family of four runs these corporations around $3-$4000 per month per family know what you think you're going to choose any smart businessman let the government furnished the healthcare. I'd rather pay the penalty and I don't blame him. That's why you liberals going destroy this country you think because you got a job that the corporation or small business to give you healthcare and pay for even though the Make a profit because you think profit is evil or you got what you wanted now live with it, and I don't care if you're happy or not. I for one will be glad when this Congress gets a little backbone or some colones to stop funding Obama care when they see is going to bankrupt this country to the point of no return were almost there now by the end of Barack Obama's second term, this country will be in total bankruptcy. These are fax really you believe him or not, it will happen in. We have you liberals who think for so enjoy your frame today you will be crying later I can guarantee that to have a nice day. I will
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the Thursday session on an upbeat note with blue chips showing relative strength for the second consecutive day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.4%) and S&P 500 (+0.3%) settled ahead of the Russell 2000 (+0.2%) and the Nasdaq Composite (+0.1%). It is worth mentioning the benchmark index posted its fourth consecutive gain, registering a new record closing high at 1992.38.
Equity indices climbed out of the gate thanks to early strength among ... More
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