At JPMorgan Chase, we consider our employees our most critical asset and their well-being one of our top priorities. We are committed to creating an environment that engages employees in their health care and provides them with the resources and support to lead healthier lives. In 2012 and 2013, our commitment was recognized with a Best Employer for Healthy Lifestyles platinum award from the National Business Group on Health.
JPMorgan Chase offers a range of health benefits and wellness programs to our nearly 250,000 employees worldwide. These include access to free health screenings, assessments and other health services. The number of U.S. employees participating in a health screening/assessment increased approximately 300 percent over the last four years. In 2013, 17 percent of U.S. employees who completed a wellness screening learned of a new health risk.
In the United States, we have 28 onsite health and wellness centers that address primary health care needs free of cost. Most sites are staffed with doctors and nurses, and we are adding specialists for employees with special needs.
In 2012, JPMorgan Chase introduced a consumer-driven health plan for U.S. employees, which requires employees to play a more active role in their health and health care purchases. At the same time, we launched online tools that allow employees to compare the quality and costs of doctors, hospitals and medical services. A key component of the plan is a company-funded Medical Reimbursement Account (MRA). Through the MRA, employees receive money to cover out-of-pocket medical and prescription drug expenses by taking part in wellness activities. In addition, we varied the out-of-pocket maximum to protect lower-paid employees from high medical costs and eliminated the deductible for primary care and generic preventive medications.
We recently launched a global wellness initiative that includes a team-based physical activity challenge. The challenge ties employee activity levels to company contributions to charitable organizations that feed the hungry ― the more active employees are, the more the company will donate, up to a maximum of $5 million.
We continuously strive to educate employees on important health and wellness topics through diverse and innovative communications. These include live and virtual events, print and web content, and mobile apps. A recent employee opinion survey showed that awareness of our wellness programs has increased 20 percentage points over the last two years.
Looking forward, we will continue to explore new ways to improve employee health and manage costs.