September 20, 2018

...AND CHEAPER...:

Walmart wants to bring its 'everyday low prices' to health care (Tami Luhby, September 19, 2018, CNN Money)

Already one of the nation's leading pharmacies, Walmart could look to provide more low-cost health services, including basic medical care through nurse practitioners, physician assistants or even doctors, experts predict.

Big discounters such as Walmart may also offer primary care, nutrition and weight counseling and chronic disease management, said Sam Glick, a partner in Oliver Wyman's health and life sciences consulting practice. That's one of the main advantages physical retailers have over their online competitors.

"There's a certain amount of health that's about laying hands," Glick said.

Expanded care was a key motivation behind Walmart's reported negotiations with Humana (HUM)earlier this year. The two were exploring a variety of options, including Walmart purchasing the health insurer, according to the Wall Street Journal.

What is health care's allure for Walmart? Medical services typically have higher margins than store products. Since they are often provided in person, there is more opportunity for consumers to pick up other items while visiting the store. And usage is growing, especially as the United States' population ages.

In particular, Walmart is eyeing both the Medicare and Medicaid markets since many of its customers are senior citizens and lower-income Americans. Its prices are generally lower than at pharmacy chains, such as CVS.

Posted by at September 20, 2018 6:21 PM

  

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