By Parker Millar
JACKSON, MO – 52 year old Deborah Shank suffered permanent brain damage and is now wheelchair bound after her car collided with a semi-truck trailer seven years ago. Fortunately, Shank and her family received a $700,000 accident settlement from the trucking company. After paying Legal fees and doctor’s bills the Shanks were left with $417,000, which was set aside to provide the personal care that Deborah will need for the rest of her life.
Due to a clause in the Wal-Mart corporate health insurance plan, Shank’s former employer sued her family in an attempt to recoup the $470,000 it had paid out for Shank’s medical expenses.
“I don’t understand why they need to do this,” said Mr. Shank during a visit to the nursing home where his wife now resides. “This girl needs the money more than they do.”
Like most corporate health insurance plans, Wal-Mart reserves the right to recoup expenses it pays out for employee’s medical bills after the employee collects damages from an injury suit.
This practice is referred to in insurance circles as “Subrogation”. Experts claim that it’s important to make sure that medical bills aren’t paid multiple times. In theory, this practice saves money and allows the company to provide insurance for all their employees.
However, there is a more important issue at stake here. The issue is company loyalty. Let’s say that someone worked for a corporation for several years then, through no fault of their own, the employee is no longer able to work for a paycheck. Does their employer hold an obligation to the people who served them without question or complaint perhaps for years?
Apparently, Wal-Mart thinks not. So if you are planning on getting or keeping a job for the largest employer in Jackson County, perhaps you should take care to protect your good health. They won’t.