Walmart is offering more details about its plans to build a health insurance business.
The company said that it's accelerating a commitment to offer quality health services at low, transparent prices by launching Walmart Insurance Services LLC, a licensed insurance brokerage that will assist people with enrolling in insurance plans. Walmart Insurance Services will begin selling Medicare insurance plans during this year’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.
“We want customers to feel confident in selecting a Medicare plan that best fits their needs, budget and lifestyle,” said David Sullivan, general manager of Walmart Insurance Services. “And we want to be a trusted partner on their health care journey. Helping customers select the right Medicare insurance plan to meet their needs aligns with Walmart’s mission of helping people save money and live better.”
At launch, Walmart Insurance Services will provide Medicare plans (Part D, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans) offered by Humana, UnitedHealthcare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Amerigroup, Simply Health, Wellcare (Centene), Clover Health, and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. More carriers may be added in the future.
In other Walmart health news, the retailer's Walmart Health locations are already springing up all over the country. Earlier this year saw the debut of the first Walmart Health Center outside of Georgia, where the first three such facilities opened, in Springdale, Arkansas. Centers are also planned for Illinois. In August, the company acquired the intellectual property of CareZone, which includes an app that helps patients manage health information and access health services. Walmart said that the deal helps "lower the cost of health care for our 160 million customers who shop Walmart each week, while offering convenient options across multiple channels to help them manage their health and wellness." The partnership also gives the company ammunition in the retail health arena, however, against competitors such as Amazon, which owns online pharmacy PillPack.
Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam's Club ranks No. 9 on the list.