Wal-Mart Upgrades and Innovates its Health Benefit

Wal-Mart Upgrades and Innovates its Health Benefit

September 19, 2007 Posted by Tarren Bragdon - No Comments

Today a New York Times story relates how Wal-Mart is upgrading and innovating its health benefit. These changes are important to note as they show how pervasive Consumer Driven Health Plans are at very large companies.
Among some of the changes for Wal-Mart employees
* Access to 2,400 generic medications for $4 a script through its pharmacies (about 1,000 more than under its current retail program and possibly providing insight into a future expansion for all retail customers)
* Health plans with premiums as low as $5 a month (let’s see how much cost is a barrier to the 10 percent of Wal-Mart employees who are uninsured)
* Deductibles up to $2,000 (consistent with standard corporate plans)
* 50 ways to customize coverage (consumer choice at its best)
* $100 health care credit (like a HSA)
* Sample plan 1: pay $79 a month, receive a $100 health care credit and have a $500 deductible ($948 a year in premiums)
* Sample plan 2: pay $8 a month, receive a $100 health care credit and have a $2,000 deductible ($96 a year in premiums)
* Full-time employees wait 6 months and part-time employees wait 12 months to be eligible for health benefits
Money quote: “We are removing any barriers of entry