BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 13 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (NYSE: WMT) announced today that the number of associates who have health care coverage through its benefits plans for 2009 or another source has increased from 92.7 percent to 94.5 percent. Over 733,000 or 51.8 percent of associates – and nearly 1.2 million associates and dependants in total – were covered by Wal-Mart’s plans at the end of its annual enrollment period.*
The company also announced that the number of uninsured associates has dropped by nearly 25 percent in the past year and by more than 40 percent between 2007 and 2009. Compared to the most recently reported data by the U.S. Census Bureau, Wal-Mart’s uninsured rate of 5.5 percent is 11.3 percent lower than the uninsured rate nationwide for the U.S. employed population (16.8 percent). The percentage of U.S. employers who offer health benefits fell from 69 percent in 2000 to 63 percent in 2008, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.
“We’re creating good jobs and providing good benefits for our associates at all levels of the company, from part-time hourly associates to full-time managers,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “So, it’s gratifying that for the fifth year in a row the number of Wal-Mart associates enrolled in the company’s health care plans has increased.”
This year, the company added more disease and illness prevention options including its new “Life with Baby” program which helps mothers and their babies get a healthy start on the child’s life. Life with Baby provides free, personalized counseling and advice by a professional nurse through pre-conception, pregnancy, postpartum and early childhood development. Wal-Mart also introduced several benefits innovations, including personalized health records (PHRs) to help associates keep track of their medical files and make more informed health care decisions.
“Since we began offering PHRs just a few months ago, more than 50,000 of our associates have signed up, which we believe demonstrates that consumers are ready and willing to use technology to take control of their own health and wellness,” said Linda Dillman, executive vice president of benefits for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “We hope that our government will study the many ways in which technology can be applied in considering health care reform for our nation this year.”
Additional information and graphs about the findings of the open enrollment survey are available on www.walmartfacts.com.
*Wal-Mart’s enrollment period was from September 20, 2008 through November 7, 2008.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.