The Walmart, UnitedHealth Group Deal: Another Big Retail, Health Care Partnership

Just two days after the CVS acquisition of Signify Health, there is another retail store-primary health care merger – Walmart Inc. and UnitedHealth Group announced Sept. 7 a 10-year, wide-ranging collaboration that is expected to serve millions of people with high-quality, affordable health services that both companies promise will improve health outcomes and the patient experience.

The collaboration will begin in 2023 with 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia before expanding over time. The goal is to serve hundreds of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries in value-based arrangements through multiple Medicare Advantage plans.

“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,” Doug McMillon, Walmart’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “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.”

Optum, a UnitedHealth Group business, will help enable Walmart Health clinicians through analytics and decision support tools to deliver comprehensive value-based care that officials say will enhance the care already provided at Walmart Health centers.

“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,” Andrew Witty, chief executive officer for UnitedHealth Group, said in a statement.

Beginning in January 2023, the collaboration will include a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan in Georgia called UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Walmart Flex (HMO-POS). Also in January 2023, Walmart Health Virtual Care will be in network for commercial members in UnitedHealthcare’s Choice Plus PPO plan, giving consumers another option.

Eventually, according to the companies, 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.

This is the not the first health care partnership for Walmart. In October 2021, the retail giant announced it was teaming up with Transcarent, a consumer-directed platform for employees of self-insured employers and their families. And in October 2020, Walmart agreed to offer Medicare Advantage plans from Clover Health in parts of Georgia.


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