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Health Benefits at Walmart U.S.

At Walmart, both full- and part-time associates can become eligible for health coverage, and children of Walmart associates become eligible as soon as their parents are. In fact, Walmart insures nearly 1.2 million Americans. Our associates can choose from numerous plan options. This year, after introducing more customizable, affordable health benefit options, nearly 95 percent of associates report having health coverage from some source, and 51.8 percent are enrolled in our plans — a 7.3 percent increase in five years.

In 2008, we made changes to our health benefits plan such as:

Though nearly 95 percent of our associates have some form of health insurance, roughly 5.5 percent are uninsured. Going forward, we want to continue to provide the kind of health benefits solutions that allow more of our associates and their families to have access to the peace of mind and security that health coverage provides.


Focusing on Health and Wellness

For 2009, we are making some real changes to our medical plans, which will help keep our associates and their family members healthy. We have put a priority on prevention, health and wellness and early detection. These preventive services include physical exams, colonoscopies, flu shots, mammograms and pap smears, well-child exams and immunizations, as well as prescription vitamins. Additionally, Walmart associates and customers will continue to have access to hundreds of prescription medications for just $4 and 90-day supplies for $10.

Providing Associates with Electronic Personal Health Records

Walmart introduced electronic personal health records to help associates keep track of their medical files and help them make more informed health care decisions. To that end, we have pledged to provide every associate and their dependents with access to a personal, electronic health record by the end of 2010. Personal access to health records is a safe and secure way to store and access personal medical information. They can help reduce administrative costs in the health care system and eliminate the medical errors that cause thousands of unnecessary deaths every year. Additionally, Walmart was a founding member of Dossia, which was created to build a framework for a secure and portable electronic medical records system in the U.S.


Addressing Health Disparities

The Wal-Mart Foundation made a $1 million grant to the Meharry Medical College to advance the center's work in addressing diseases that disproportionately impact women and ethnic minorities. The Foundation also made a grant to the Center for American Progress for more than $250,000 to publish research papers related to racial and ethnic health disparities.

Playing a Larger Role

As a major employer and as an insurer of more than 1.2 million Americans, we are working to play a larger role in the health benefits arena. To that end, we are transitioning from an inwardly-focused company to one that expands our influence to make a difference in the health care arena. As an example, Walmart's first Health Insights Panel was created in 2007 to serve as our external advisory group on health care. Members include representatives from Harvard Medical School, the National Business Group on Health, the New America Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and others. We are also mounting an aggressive stakeholder engagement campaign with non-profit organizations, policymakers and our colleagues in the business community.

As the nation's largest private employer, we also intend to play an active role in the health care reform debate in Washington, D.C. We have outlined a series of principles that guide our approach and our advocacy efforts as pending legislation moves through Congress. They are:

Engaging Others

In February 2007, Walmart; AT&T; the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy; the Center for American Progress; the Committee for Economic Development; the Communications Workers of America; Intel; Kelly Services and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) launched the Better Health Care Together Coalition. This partnership was formed in recognition of the fact that millions of Americans are living without health coverage and that by 2010, at the current rate, health care costs will be double what they were in 2000. Put another way: they'll be roughly one-fifth of the nation's GDP. That puts a tremendous burden on our government and our economy. Our participation in the Better Health Care Together coalition reflects our belief that business, labor and government must work together to solve the nation's health care challenges. And each should contribute to managing and financing a new American health care system.

U.S. Health Care Peer Comparison


In our most recent open enrollment period, 1,168,926 full-time and part-time associates were eligible for health benefits, representing nearly 80 percent of our total U.S. workforce. In comparison, according to the 2007 Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey, approximately 57 percent of workers in the retail sector are eligible for benefits.

The Hewitt Benefit Index® is a methodology used by more than 500 companies over the past 40 years to benchmark the competitive value of the complex array of benefit plans and provisions of various industry and labor market competitors; it has surmised that this higher percentage of eligible associates likely results from our policy of offering benefits to both full-time and part-time associates, a policy rare among other large retailers and grocers. The percentage of associates who reported having no coverage declined from 9.6 percent in 2007 to 5.5 percent in 2009 — a figure significantly lower than the 18.1 percent uninsured rate nationwide for U.S. employed workers recently reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. That's a 42.7 percent decrease in just two years. Hewitt also noted that Walmart's broad eligibility requirements rank us among the highest in our comparative set of 18 large retailers and grocers. Walmart scored 113.8 on health benefits, as compared to the average retail score of 100. Our score is a significant increase over last year's score of 102.