Walmart

Walmart Expands Healthcare Services

Walmart's partnership with insurance startup Clover Health to aid Georgia seniors marks the retail giant's foray into privately-managed Medicare Advantage plans, Bloomberg reported.

Under the plans, seniors will have access to new Walmart Health centers around the Atlanta area, which will use Clover's technology to track patient health and improve the quality of care.

The Medicare Advantage program is lucrative, as over a third of beneficiaries get their care through private Advantage plans, which collect fees from the government in exchange for managing members' care, Bloomberg reported. The plans usually provide traditional Medicare benefits with other ones, such as dental or vision care, alongside gym memberships and prescription drug coverage.

The field is primarily dominated by UnitedHealth Group, Humana, CVS's Aetna and BlueCross BlueShield's branded plans.

Now, Walmart is joining the fray, as some of the other companies are planning expanded offerings, Bloomberg reported.

Clover said its partnership with Walmart will focus on low costs and convenience, according to President and Chief Technology Officer Andrew Toy, quoted by Bloomberg.

“Our vision is, we deliver care wherever our members want to get care,” he said.

Walmart has been making moves in the healthcare field for some time, including opening clinics in Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, Florida and Arkansas. PYMNTS reported that the clinics include walk-in services in 1,500-square-foot spaces attempting to be the "supercenter of healthcare," drawing on the company's experience in making retail stores.

The company's pricing, including $40 primary care appointments and $20 pediatric appointments, could be disruptive, although the company said that wasn't its intent with the new program. The company is able to offer such costs through cutting out middlemen and allowing customers to pay up front without insurance involved.

Seniors often choose the Advantage plans for the extra benefits in spite of sometimes having to trade off for limited networks of doctors or hospitals, and Clover's program will reportedly use a preferred-provider organization network, Bloomberg reported. But Clover said members won't face more fees for going out of network.

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