In June 2007 the state Department of Health and Family Services posted an updated list of Wisconsin employers with the largest number of employees (or their dependents) participating in BadgerCare, the state's health insurance program for low-income working families. At the top of the list was Wal-Mart, which had 897 employees enrolled, plus an additional 776 dependents. The Department projected the annual cost to the state of those enrollees at $3.7 million. Other employers at the top of the list were McDonald's (248 employees; 149 dependents), the non-profit healthcare provider Aurora (193; 162), and home improvement chain Menard (163; 184). The 116 employers with 15 or more employees on BadgerCare were said to cost the state a total of $23.9 million a year.
In October 2005 Wisconsin Citizen Action published a report estimating that large corporations, led by Wal-Mart, were costing the state $46 million a year because of the participation of their employees in public medical assistance programs.Sources: The Department of Health and Family Services list is posted at http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/badgercare/pdfs/employers0307.pdf. See also Stacy Forster, "Who Has Staff using Health Care Safety Net?" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 21, 2007. For coverage of earlier reports, see Stacy Forster, "Big Companies Fill BadgerCare Rolls," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 24, 2005; Anita Weier, "Wal-Mart Workers Need State Health Aid," The Capital Times , November 4, 2004, p.1A; Stacy Forster, "Tab for Uninsured Workers Rises 13%," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 30, 2006.