NEW YORK, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Wal-Mart on Friday defended its worker health plan as the company eyes a foray into the Big Apple.
The retail powerhouse came under fire in the past month for what critics say is a stingy health plan.
In fact, the company was the inspiration for a recently passed Maryland law requiring that firms with more than 10,000 employees spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on healthcare or chip in an equivalent amount to the state's Medicaid fund.
On Friday Wal-Mart released results of a poll that it says "confirm what other recent polls have shown: America's working families -- including the working families of New York City -- support Wal-Mart."
At the same time, the company defended its worker health plan, saying it offers workers the choice of as many as 18 health plans costing as little as $11 per day and 30 cents more per day for children in some areas and that workers have access to health coverage starting at $23 per day and 50 cents more per day for children.
"Unlike other retailers," both full- and part-time associates can become eligible for healthcare at Wal-Mart.
"Wal-Mart insures more than 1 million people, making the company among the largest private sector providers of healthcare in the nation," Wal-Mart said in a statement.
Wal-Mart added that the results of its Quinnipiac poll of New Yorkers on whether or not they welcome the giant retailer in their city showed that 70 percent of respondents and 68 percent from union households agree that Wal-Mart's low prices benefit New Yorkers; 65 percent of respondents and 63 percent from union households would shop at Wal-Mart if a store opened near them; and 51 percent of respondents, and a plurality of 47 percent of union households, support Wal-Mart opening stores in New York City.