BENTONVILLE, Ark., Dec. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the National Federation of Independent Business the high cost of health insurance continues to be the #1 issue facing business owners. However, thanks to a number of recent legislative changes affordable health care solutions are now available. Effective January 4, 2006, SAM'S CLUB and Extend Benefits Group LLC will join forces to offer a new and innovative health insurance program for businesses. The ExtendChoice(TM) for SAM'S CLUB program leverages new employee benefit tax rules and the growing popularity and affordability of individual health insurance plans to provide employers and their employees with a broad choice of affordable individual health insurance plans from major carriers in all 50 states. Extend Benefits assists each employee in making the most effective use of this allowance to pay for an individual plan that best fits his needs and budget. ExtendChoice(TM) is a defined contribution health care program that allows employers to provide their employees tax free dollars to be used to secure their own individual health insurance and/or pay for qualified medical expenses. Traditional employer-sponsored group plans can cost $5,000- $10,000 per worker per year with increasing out-of-pocket costs, deductibles and co- pays. The ExtendChoice(TM) solution allows the employee to pick an individual plan that best fits his needs and budget which typically results in substantially lower insurance costs. The employee selects from a wide range of plan designs (PPO, HMO and HSAs) with his personal doctors and local medical facilities included "in network". "We have been searching for an innovative and cost effective way for business owners to offer health insurance to their employees," said Mark D. Goodman, SAM'S CLUB executive vice president Marketing, Membership and E- Commerce. "By individualizing the health insurance program for each employee, ExtendChoice(TM) makes insurance practical and affordable." Commenting on the ExtendChoice(TM) program for SAM'S CLUB, Bryce A. Williams, President and CEO of Extend Benefits said, "Our joint focus groups with SAM'S CLUB resoundingly confirmed the need for a different approach to offering benefits. The vast majority of employers would like to contribute to their employees' health care, but the cost and inflexibility of traditional group-based plans has made it very difficult. With ExtendChoice(TM), employers will be able to assist their employees with their individual health care costs while controlling their monthly expense in doing so. An individual health insurance plan is permanent, portable and owned by the employee, independent of their job status." To learn more, visit http://insurance.samsclub.com or http://www.extendone.com/sams About SAM'S CLUB SAM'S CLUB (http://www.samsclub.com ), a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is the nation's largest warehouse chain in the United States serving small business owners and operators. The purchasing agent of choice, SAM'S CLUB provides every day low cost to more than 47 million entrepreneurs and consumers nationwide. About Extend Benefits Group LLC Extend Benefits Group LLC (http://www.extendbenefits.com ) is the leader in powering defined contribution health care plans for American corporations and small businesses. Majority owned by Revolution Health Group LLC (http://www.revolution.com ) and based in Salt Lake City, Utah, the company was founded by leading health care and benefits professionals who share the vision of enabling Americans to own and manage their own health care plan independent of their employment status.
SOURCE SAM'S CLUB