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'America's biggest health fair' is coming to Walmart


Walmart is planning to hold what will it says will be “America's Biggest Health Fair” across 4,400 locations on the afternoon of Oct. 10.

Given Walmart's expansive reach and the number of complementary health screenings being provided, the company expects to uncover as many as 3,000 cases of diabetes over the course of the day and 7,000 incidences of high blood pressure.

“Customer behavior is changing,” Michelle Gloeckler, executive VP, consumables and health and wellness divisions and U.S. manufacturing lead for Walmart U.S., told journalists Tuesday morning. “Customers are taking an active role in their personal health, researching things online and overall, wathching for ways to live better.”

On Oct. 10, Walmart will provide free blood glucose, blood pressure, vision screenings and product samples. In addition, more than 10,000 of Walmart’s pharmacists will offer immunizations in select stores. Walmart expects to see record-breaking numbers during the single-day health fair, with hundreds of thousands of screenings and immunizations projected.

In addition to screenings and immunizations, Walmart will have Jackson Hewitt licensed insurers on hand at some 250 locations to help customers identify the best insurance plans for them, whether they are shopping for a plan in a Health Exchange or looking for their best Medicare option.

The customer open enrollment program, Healthcare Begins Here, will be available Oct. 15, 2015 through Jan. 31, 2016 in more than 2,400 Walmart stores, online and via phone.

Walmart last year launched its program with to launch Healthcare Begins Here, an in-store program designed to educate customers on health insurance options., an online health insurance comparison site which is an independent licensed health insurance agency, will provide a resource that brings Walmart customers unprecedented access to health insurance information and enrollment support.

“What we're seeing is enormous payer interest and support around [health insurance education],” Marcus Osborne, VP third party contracting at Walmart, said. “Consumers who aren't happy with their health plan selection because they didn't have all the information up front is bad for the health plans and their brands. A consumer who is better informed about their health ... that puts them in a better position to better leverage their health plan to improve their health. We have gotten enormous support from the health plans and [this] will improve our ability to partner with them in the future.”

To help customers manage their health whenever and wherever they are, Walmart has also revamped its Health & Wellness page on to focus on solutions that highlight products across multiple categories.

“We have a long history of making healthcare more affordable and accessible for our customers,” Gloeckler added. “Our $4 prescription program changed the industry and drove down healthcare costs. Our Care Clinics and Vision Centers are creating new price positions for retail health services and giving communities expanded access to services they need to live healthier lives.”

In addition to its health care efforts, as the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart is working to make healthier food accessible and affordable. Last year, according to the company, customers saved more than $1.09 billion on fresh fruits and vegetables and Walmart exceeded its goal of opening 275 – 300 stores serving designated food desert areas a full year ahead of schedule.

Today, Walmart says it offers more than 1,700 organic products, nearly 10% of which are organic produce items, and brings customers new, healthier options by working with national brands and innovating within its own private label assortment.

In 2011, Walmart set out to reduce the sodium, added sugar and industrially produced trans fats in its private brands, including Great Value, as well as national brands. Through 2014, the company has reduced added sodium in the foods sold in its stores by 16%, reduced added sugars by more than 10% and now less than 6% of its products contain industrially produced transfats.

If successful, Walmart will host its second "America's Biggest Health Fair" in January, Gloeckler said.

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