Enhanced benefits package for 2009 includes initiatives to help families stay healthy
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Sept. 30, 2008 – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today said it will continue its push to make health care more accessible and affordable for its Walmart Stores U. S. and Sam’s Club associates by introducing new programs designed to keep them and their families healthy.
“We have worked hard to provide high-quality, affordable health care to our associates and I think this additional focus on wellness steps us up to a new level,” said Walmart U.S. President & CEO Eduardo Castro-Wright. “Over the past year, our associates have told us they wanted additional help in keeping themselves and their families healthy, and we have responded with new plans designed to do just that.”
One new feature of the 2009 plan is “Life with Baby,” an initiative designed to give associates and their spouses personalized tools and education to help them have healthier pregnancies and infants. The comprehensive program touches on all phases of maternity, beginning with pre-pregnancy and continuing through pre-natal, postpartum and child care. Throughout the phases, associates can receive immediate assistance from a registered nurse and materials tailored toward their individual needs. The plan also includes expanded benefits, such as four periodontal cleanings to help prevent the risk posed by gum disease to the mother and baby, and a new smoking cessation program.
“Walmart’s 'Life with Baby' program can be a real game changer because it provides employees with robust health and wellness offerings before, during and after pregnancy,” said Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, senior vice president for Health Affairs and dean, Meharry Medical College, and a licensed obstetrician and gynecologist. “About 15,000 Walmart associates have babies each year and, since every pregnancy is different, having a program that can be customized for each woman makes a big difference.”
Earlier this year, Walmart announced that 92.7 percent of associates have health care coverage, including 50.2 percent of associates who have coverage through Walmart’s plan.
At a time when increases in health costs are driving many individuals and companies to cut back, Walmart is committed to offering benefits choices that associates and their families can afford and use to stay healthy. For example, associates who enroll in Walmart’s “Value” or “Freedom” plans will have access to additional preventative care coverage before meeting the annual deductible. This includes wellness offerings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, flu vaccinations and well-child office visits. In addition, associates can take advantage of a free, confidential 24-hour registered nurse line through the Mayo Clinic to get information about illness, injuries and wellness coaching.
Walmart is also helping provide associates and their families access to information that will enable them to make smarter health care decisions, including personal health records (PHR). Associates will now have the tools and resources to access their own life-long PHR through a secure, personal health care account through WebMD that is powered by Dossia, a health information technology consortium. Whether it is communicating more effectively with doctors or keeping track of vaccinations, PHRs give associates the ability to take a more active, informed role in their own health, as well as that of their families.
These enhancements are in addition to other recent changes the company made to its overall benefits program including its dental, and Profit Sharing and 401 (k) plans.
Walmart operates Walmart discount stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom and, through a joint venture, in India. The Company's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.