Walmart enters health insurance industry

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Walmart is the latest major retailer to set foot in the health insurance industry.

The retail giant plans to sell health insurance policies directly to consumers, according to a report by HR Dive. Walmart is currently hiring Medicare insurance agents to help get the new venture off the ground. Walmart did not immediately return a request for comment.

“You will be responsible for helping the Medicare community in a meaningful way, by enrolling customers in Medicare products and services over the phone,” the Walmart job posting says.

This is the latest venture in Walmart’s efforts to enter the healthcare industry; last year, Walmart announced it was opening its first health clinic in Georgia, where consumers would have access to dental, mental health counseling, X-rays and audiology services under one roof. Walmart plans to open more of these locations in Georgia and Arkansas.

Walmart also continues to offer a list of generic medications at about $4, including birth control, diabetes and some mental health medications. “Patients have responded favorably to our low, transparent pricing for key healthcare services, regardless of insurance status,” a Walmart corporate announcement said. “They’re also appreciative of the convenience of our facilities.”

Walmart is yet another player in the retail sector interested in expanding into the healthcare industry. CVS Health expanded to health insurance through its purchase of Aetna in 2018. Prior to the coronavirus crisis, CVS Health was in the process of developing an insurance product designed to help employers provide gene therapy coverage, and launched a line of voluntary wellness benefits that tackle issues like heart health, diabetes, chronic pain, caregiving and mindfulness. CVS Health, and its PBM counterpart CVS Caremark, said the new offerings were designed for employer plans.

“Plan sponsors increasingly see the value in healthcare point solutions for improving workforce productivity, satisfaction and overall well-being; however, with so many options on the market, it can be challenging to identify trusted solutions that best meet the needs of their members,” Sree Chaguturu, M.D., chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, said in a previous report.

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