Sam's Club's $99 Health Package: Don't Mistake It for Real Insurance

Sam's Club Offers a $99 Health PackageSam's Club, the discount warehouse owned by Walmart (WMT), has begun selling a basic health package called the Prevention Plan this month. The $99 plan is offered via U.S. Preventive Medicine, a privately owned Florida company offering wellness programs. But it's not an actual health insurance plan: It's a personalized health-management program that gives consumers access to tools to help evaluate their health.

The $99 annual fee includes an annual subscription to a Web-based program used to identify potential health risks, as well as at-home blood tests to help identify potential health problems.

The information users provide is used to create a personalized prevention plan to improve health. Members also receive two health-coaching sessions and access to a 24-hour-a-day nurse line. The plan is open to all three types of Sam's Club members, although they need to sign up online rather than in stores.

Good for Small Businesses

While it may not seem like a natural fit for a wholesaler to offer a health benefits package, Sam's Club spokeswoman Christi Gallagher said the company's goal is to bring in new members, retain old ones and result in increased revenue. "This made sense for us because our members are looking for solutions to stay on top of their health, so we are constantly looking for new things to bring into our club," said Gallagher.

Sam's Club hasn't disclosed projected revenues or sign-up goals for the program, although Gallagher said that so far, they are very pleased with the results of the Prevention Plan, which is particularly appealing to small businesses.

"Many of our small business owners may not be able to provide the breadth of coverage larger companies can offer, so this is a solution they can offer employees that also helps them stay in control of their health care costs," she said. "Our primary focus is to help members become aware of their health and learn about programs we offer to help them reduce health care costs, because they might identify and treat a problem before it gets to severe or even prevent a problem from developing."

Wellness Screenings Are Also Available

This is the first time the Prevention Plan has been sold in a retail environment, although U.S. Preventive Medicine has offered it to employers for two years. The plan is also available to people who aren't Sam's Club members for $229 per person per year.
To date, tens of thousands of people have signed up for the Prevention Plan through their employers, according to U.S. Preventive Medicine spokeswoman Trish Kapustka. Judging by the success of the program in the corporate market, the plan could prove to be a boon for the Walmart unit, which has 47 million members.

In a separate initiative launched in 2010, Sam's Club stores offered free quarterly health screenings for members and nonmembers. In 2011, the screenings will be offered on a monthly basis. Each month, Sam's Club stores will offer different screenings, including blood pressure checkups, bone density scans, body mass index assessments, cholesterol and glucose tests and hearing and vision screenings.

It's important to note that consumer health advocates caution that these types of preventive health programs should not be used as a substitute for regular medical checkups.

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union1942

do not BUY anything from SAM'S CLUB!!VERY RUDE AND WILL NOT EXCEPT VISA CARDS.. REAL LOSER"S on PRICES..JUST CHECK THERE PRICE>> QUANITIES ETC>

January 25 2011 at 5:51 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
grimm

For $99 they'll tell you you're screwed because you don't have real coverage and now you have a preexisting condition so you can't sign up for anything that will actually help.

January 25 2011 at 3:48 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Sun

Quite honestly, from what it states in the article, the same thing can be found online for free for the health information, and how to's of healthy living.

January 25 2011 at 3:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
smick1953

Well, when you have NO health insurance (and this hasn't been my case until 2009 and now again in 2011 when my employer dropped my hours to part-time and now I CAN'T AFFORD THE SINGLE INSURANCE), and the doctor's office tells you-no insurance, no check-up-What are you supposed to do? This is better than nothing!

January 25 2011 at 1:38 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to smick1953's comment
Sun

1. Find a different doctor. 2. check out state qualifications for assistance. 3. check out care at a university-based facility and see if payment arrangements are available. First check out the usual sites, WebMD and others like it. Is this plan even worth $99? Are the blood tests available over the counter anyway? For nutritional advise on healthy eating, etc. There is MyFoodPyramid.gov (I think, anyway it is part of USDA) and WebMD FoodOmeter and FitOmeter that tracks the fats and proteins, sodium, calories, cholesterol, and such of what you consume. (I prefer WebMd's) but there are many others. Sometimes, it is better to realize what you are doing to yourself and stop it, rather than to take something anyway. My church does blood pressure testing and cholesterol screening for its parisheners. They've done flu shots in the past as well. They focus on healthier, with activities such as walks, and outside play for the kids before their studies, and they plowed up the church lawn for God's Garden to help feed the hungry. This may be a growing trend to help people who gather as groups. I feel for you, but 99 is a lot of money for a part-time person. Se if the benefit outweighs that which you can do for free or nearly so. Best wishes that you find what you need.

January 25 2011 at 3:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sharisez

Another Wal*Mart rip off. Surprise. Surprise. Not.

January 23 2011 at 12:00 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
djtonydee

ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT ARE MAD AT SAMMY MUST NOT HAVE BUSINESSES OF THEIR OWN..CAUSE US BUSINESS OWNERS GET REALLY GOOD DEALS ON THINGS THAT HELP US RUN OUR BUSINESSES....PLUS I GOT A GREAT DEAL ON MY EYE GLASSES

January 22 2011 at 8:05 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
voz

If you shop at Wally World or Sammies you deserve whatever you get. Hope all these people get what they deserve. Nothing for nothing!

January 22 2011 at 7:52 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Eric

FREE VISION AND HEARING SCREENINGS?
JUST ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY FOR WALMART TO
SELL YOU EYEGLASSES AND HEARING AIDS.

CAN'T YOU SEE THIS IS A MARKETING STRATEGY?

January 22 2011 at 7:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Liz Lurye

Leave it to the sleeze of sleeze, Walmart to provide fake insurance to its consumers. Basically this plan is $99 a year to have access to thier version of WebMD. But like everything else Walmart touches, it will be substandard to say the least. At least WebMD is free to use and I trust that farther than any Sam's Club faux insurance plan.

January 22 2011 at 5:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Bug

Sam's absolutely sucks. Of course they are not going to take any risks, they counsel their employees on how to get on medicaid as part of their intro package.

There is nothing this family won't do to make a buck...NOTHING.

I was ACCOSTED at a Sams the other day by a supervisor trying to get me to give Sams my prescription business. I guess our gray hair was what attracted her to me. I straight to her no. She ask why and I told her I don't trust Sams...right there in front of everyone her jaw dropped. I said I'm here for bulk because I own a daycare and then she started on her business option. I told her to stop and she said "just doin' my job mam" like that gave her permission then, she went onto some other push and I told her, "I'll be damn, your not going to stop and then I said you either stop or your going to cost Sams this order because I am going to leave it. With that she walked away saying she was sorry I felt that way.

I Sams will sell toxic toys to our children and Wal-Mart, why would anyone give them their Prescription business? How many recalls of over the counter and Prescriptions have they had.

Sam's will only get what I absolutely have to spend there and I don't even walk into Wal-Mart. I say stop going to either of them and get them out of our back yards. Our interists are the farthest thing from their minds and that commercial where generations are working at Wal-Mart and being able to buy homes and pay for higher educations for their kids is just a lie.

January 22 2011 at 4:05 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
6 replies to Bug's comment