Walmart's virtual health care offering builds on traditional telehealth sick visits to allow employees and their families to develop enduring relationships with esteemed doctors nationwide.
Walmart revealed this week that it was expanding virtual primary care for its thousands of associates in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.
The offering builds on traditional telehealth sick visits to allow employees and their families to develop enduring relationships with esteemed doctors nationwide, provided that the associates and their covered dependents are enrolled in a Walmart self-insured medical plan. The benefit is already offered in the states not mentioned above, except for Hawaii.
“As part of this expansion, virtual care options for digestive health and physical therapy will also be available, including some basic at-home lab work early next year,” explained Walmart VP of Well-being Lisa Woods in an Oct. 10 blog post. “Most virtual health care benefits are available at no cost to associates and their families ($0 co-pay).”
[Read more: “Walmart Health Doubling Its Footprint in 2024”]
According to Woods, Walmart presciently “started laying the foundation for virtual care for simple sick needs such as sore throats and colds, not knowing how much the world, and the health care needs of our associates, were about to change. The pandemic accelerated the need for on-demand access to quality providers, which built upon the solid foundation of our existing virtual care strategy. This also included enhanced mental health benefits our associates and their families can take advantage of at no cost, whether they are enrolled in a Walmart medical plan or not.”
Since that time, the company has “reimagined what’s possible when it comes to unlocking ways for our associates and their families to receive care when they need it, wherever they call home,” she noted.
“Over the past three and a half years, Walmart has tested and validated the role of virtual care beyond simple sick needs,” affirmed Owen Tripp, CEO of San Francisco-based Included Health, Walmart’s health care partner for the virtual primary care expansion. “Against national primary care shortages, rural health care deserts and persistent price growth, Walmart has continued to move health care forward.”
As Woods put it, “We’re meeting people where they are and removing barriers of time, travel and cost at the same time.”
Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company as one of its Retailers of the Century.