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09/07/2022

Walmart partners with UnitedHealth Group on health care for seniors

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Walmart is collaborating with UnitedHealth Group on a program for seniors.

Walmart Inc. is collaborating with a health insurance giant — and the biggest provider of Medicare Advantage coverage — for its latest push into health care.

Walmart Inc. and UnitedHealth Group have entered into a 10-year collaboration designed to offer seniors high-quality, affordable health services that improve health outcomes and the patient experience.  The collaboration will start in 2023 with 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia and expand into new areas over time. (Walmart Health is the retailer’s freestanding health-care concept, which debuted in 2019.)

Starting in January, UnitedHealth and Walmart will operate a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan in Georgia, called UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Walmart Flex.

Also in January, Walmart’s virtual health-care offering (Walmart Health Virtual Care) will be in-network for commercial members enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s Choice Plus PPO plan. The option will give the approximate 20 million members access to Walmart virtual care.

Optum, UnitedHealth Group business, will facilitate the process and assist Walmart Health clinicians in using analytics and decision support tools that can help drive positive health outcomes for seniors and Medicare beneficiaries.  The Optum capabilities will enhance the care already provided at Walmart Health centers, which use a team-based delivery model and help accelerate “the transition to value-based care by enabling clinicians to focus on patient outcomes,” the companies stated.

“We’re on a journey to transform health care, connecting more people to the right care at the right time — at a cost that makes sense,” said Doug McMillon, CEO, Walmart. “This collaboration puts the patient at the center of health care by leveraging the strength and complementary skill sets of our two companies to accelerate access to quality care.”

The partnership comes as CVS Health, Walgreens and Amazon continue to move deeper into health care. It also comes days after CVS reached an agreement to acquire health-care company Signify Health in a deal valued at about $8 billion. In July, Amazon said it would acquire One Medical, a membership-based primary health care provider, for $3.9 billion. In October 2022, Walgreens became the majority owner of VillageMd.

In a release, Walmart said the ultimate goal is to serve hundreds of thousands of seniors and Medicare beneficiaries in value-based arrangements through multiple Medicare Advantage plans.

Eventually, the collaboration aims to serve even more people, including those across commercial and Medicaid plans, by providing access to fresh food and enhancing current initiatives to address social determinants of health, over-the-counter and prescription medications, and dental and vision services.

“UnitedHealth Group and Walmart share a deep commitment to high-quality and affordable primary care-led services that address all of a patient’s health needs in ways that are convenient for them and improve health outcomes,” said Andrew Witty, CEO, UnitedHealth Group.

Walmart and UnitedHealth Group previously partnered in January to provide free, at-home COVID-19 tests.