In attempt to counterbalance Amazon, Walmart has recently signed a deal with Anthem to provide Medicare enrollees with over-the-counter medications and health supplies at its stores.
For quite some time, Walmart has been making advances in the healthcare sector. For example, it already provides eye care at roughly 3,000 in-store vision centers and free health screenings at 4,700 locations four times a year. It even assists with Affordable Care Act policies, Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans through the company’s partnership with directhealth.com.
Some commentators predict that Walmart will soon start providing additional low-cost health services, such as basic medical care through nurse practitioners, physician assistants or even doctors.
Its deal with Anthem means more Medicare customers shopping at Walmart for their Medicare Advantage benefits purchasing over-the-counter medicine, first aid supplies, support braces and pain relievers from a store. Walmart can also market its healthy grocery items to such customers since the federal government recently allowed insurers to cover such products as a supplemental benefit. This has given the company another advantage over pharmacy chains.
CNN Money reports that Walmart also “dipped a toe in the booming urgent care industry a few years ago and now operates a total of 19 Walmart Care Clinics in Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. Visits cost between $59 and $99, and customers can get routine and urgent care, as well as lab tests and immunizations, from nurse practitioners. But the effort has met with mixed success, experts said, and has not expanded nationwide.”