Walmart and UnitedHealth Group announced, via a Sept.7 press release, that they were teaming up to offer affordable health care to seniors and Medicare beneficiaries. In addition, they will offer virtual care for people of all ages.
The initial 10-year collaboration will start in Jan. 2023 at 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia and then expand into new markets over time, Walmart detailed in the press release.
The retail giant said that Optum, a UnitedHealth Group business, will help enable Walmart Health clinicians “through analytics and decision support tools to deliver comprehensive value-based care that can help drive positive health outcomes for seniors and Medicare beneficiaries.”
CNBC explained that value-based healthcare is a model in which hospitals and doctors’ offices are reimbursed for the care they provide through multiple Medicare Advantage plans. In addition, value-based care, unlike the traditional fee-for-service model, is a model under which providers — hospitals, labs, doctors, nurses and others — are paid based on the health outcomes of their patients and the quality of services rendered, according to Aetna.
“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,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in the release. “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 companies said that the partnership will include a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan in Georgia, UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Walmart Flex (HMO-POS).
In addition, also as of Jan. 2023, Walmart Health Virtual Care will be in network for commercial members in UnitedHealthcare’s Choice Plus PPO plan, “giving consumers another option to access care when and where they want it,” according to the release.
“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, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, said in the release.
In the longer term, the companies said that the collaboration intends to reach 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.”
Walmart’s announcement follows that of Walgreens Boots Alliance which announced a similar $5.2 billion partnership with VillageMD in Oct. 2021, “to advance its strategic position in the delivery of value-based primary care, a $1 trillion, fast-growing segment of the healthcare system.”
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