Next time you’re bargain hunting at your local Walmart store, pick up a box of life insurance with your carton of milk.
MetLife, the New York-based insurer, has partnered with the big-box retailer to offer shoppers prepaid life insurance policies at 200 stores in a pilot program across Georgia and South Carolina.
“We believe more people want to buy insurance and be on sound financial footing but they run into so many barriers,” said Manish Bhatt, senior vice-president of consumer direct business at MetLife. “Some don’t want to talk to agents. Some find it confusing. By simplifying it and putting it in Walmart, it will make it easy for people to get started.”
The program is part of a growing trend in which health care related products and services are popping up in non-traditional venues. Costco partnered with Aetna in April to offer health insurance to its members in nine states, including Georgia. And health care deals ranging from medical checkups to dental cleanings have become increasingly popular on deal sites such as Groupon.com.
The MetLife insurance available at Walmart comes in two coverage options — $10,000 or $25,000 — with cards starting as low as $69. The price varies depending on age and the amount of coverage desired.
An 18 to 44-year-old can purchase a one-year, $10,000 life insurance policy for $69, while a 60- to 65-year-old would get a one-year, $25,000 policy for $429.
Once a shopper has decided on an option and purchased the prepaid card, they call MetLife’s toll-free number to answer questions about recent or upcoming hospital stays, medical treatments and health conditions. If the customer qualifies for insurance, the policy is activated. If the customer is denied, he or she can get a refund at Walmart.
Though representatives for MetLife say the program has been well received by locals, they were unable to say how many shoppers have purchased insurance through the program.
“Eighty-five percent of the country goes through Walmart and Walmart is all about saving money,” Bhatt said. “This makes it easier for everyone to get life insurance.”
Do you have adequate life insurance? How would you feel about buying it at Walmart?
– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog