BENEFITS ASSESSMENT MEMO STATEMENT
“One of our greatest assets at Wal-Mart is our culture of change. We’re constantly looking at our company and our competitors and asking: How can we do better? Lately, our board has been taking a particularly close look at our health benefits. Part of that process has been a hard look by an outside group at the benefits we currently offer our associates.
We’re fortunate that we offer pretty good benefits to begin with – as good as our competitors and, in many cases, even better. Every associate – both full-time and part-time – is eligible or, after a reasonable waiting period, can become eligible for health benefits. And just one other example – there are no lifetime maximums for any of our plans.
All of that said: we feel that we can improve our offerings, and we’ve already announced some of the improvements that will be available next year. Also, over the next couple of months our board will examine additional improvements. Here are just a few of the things we’ve already proposed or will be considering to include:”
- Improving Access: Health clinics in stores that will give associates and the community access to quality care while providing an alternative to expensive emergency room visits;
- Increasing Affordability: A value plan that will provide health care coverage in some markets for as little as $11 per month and 30 cents a day for children – regardless of how many children an associate might have;
- Widening Coverage: Shortening the waiting time for benefits and helping associates get other coverage during the waiting period – such as making contributions to individually purchased plans or offering savings on plans available at Sam’s Club;
- Expanding Choice: In some markets, the choice from as many as 18 health care plans to give associates the opportunity to tailor their benefits to their individual needs and the needs of their families.
- Encouraging Ownership: The ability for associates to save, spend and invest their health care dollars through portable Health Savings Accounts, which associates will contribute to before taxes and Wal-Mart will match those contributions dollar for dollar up to $1,000 per year. We also are evaluating the addition of a 401k company matching plan.
“Every business in America is facing the harsh reality of skyrocketing health care costs. They’re having conversations in their boardrooms just like we’re having in ours. We’re all asking the question: How do we balance the genuine desire to provide the best benefits to employees while remaining competitive in the global economy?
We at Wal-Mart are working hard to answer that question -- because we believe we have an opportunity not just to improve the benefits we offer our own associates, but to be a leader and a driver of change. That’s why, in the coming months and years, we remain committed to being bold and innovative and finding solutions to the health care challenges facing our company and our communities.”
Statement from Doug McMillon, president and CEO of SAMS CLUB:
Some of the things in that memo we continue to consider. Many of which we are not considering at this point. But, we want you to know that the bottom line is we are not trying to dissuade unhealthy associates from joining...we want to hire the best people for the job, period.