Anthem, the health benefits company, announced Monday (Aug. 20) that it inked a deal with Walmart to advance the companies’ joint goals of reducing healthcare costs and providing consumers with more access to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.
In a press release, the companies announced that an Anthem-Walmart program will launch in January of 2019, which will give consumers enrolled in Anthem’s affiliated Medicare Advantage (MA) plans the ability to use “plan allowances to purchase OTC medications and health-related items, such as first aid supplies, support braces and pain relievers at Walmart’s 4,700 stores and on Walmart.com.” The companies said the new partnership is expected to improve MA customer access to these items and reduce out-of-pocket costs.
“Creating a better healthcare future requires us to think differently about how we can develop innovative and meaningful healthcare solutions for consumers,” said Felicia Norwood, executive vice president and president of the Government Business Division at Anthem, in the press release. “We are pleased to join with Walmart to create an initiative that combines Anthem’s deep understanding of the needs of senior consumers with Walmart’s unwavering commitment to saving people money and developing a seamless shopping experience. We believe that programs like this can make a tremendous difference for healthcare consumers, who often live on a fixed income or are managing chronic medical conditions.”
According to Walmart, 90 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, and the new initiative with Anthem is expected to be important for older adults looking for lower costs and convenience when shopping. Citing the Social Security Administration, Walmart said close to one-quarter of married seniors and four out of 10 unmarried older adults rely on Social Security benefits for 90 percent or more of their income, with the average monthly check just over $1,400.