Fresh announcements seem to be piling into the retail healthcare snowball on a daily basis, and it looks like Walmart and UnitedHealth Group don’t plan on missing out on the fun.
Walmart and UnitedHealth Group inked a 10-year partnership to deliver care to hundreds of thousands of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries through value-based arrangements, with three pillars supporting most of the collaboration:
- Beginning in January, Walmart and UHG will launch a co-branded MA plan in Georgia, dubbed UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Walmart Flex.
- UHG will provide Optum analytics and CDS tools to Walmart Health clinicians, starting with 15 locations throughout Florida and Georgia.
- Walmart Health’s Virtual Care solution will now be in-network with UnitedHealthcare’s Choice Plus PPO plan, giving ~20M members access to the service.
At first glance, the partnership makes sense for both sides, offering advantages of scale that could only be achieved from a collaboration between the nation’s largest retailer and its largest payor.
- Walmart gains access to UHG’s deep clinical expertise and Medicare Advantage resources, giving it exposure to the upside of risk-based contracts without having to fully enter the complex insurance market.
- In return, Walmart’s expansive footprint provides UHG with healthcare access points all across the country, including in geographies where Optum’s own physician network isn’t active (yet).
UHG and Walmart have a clear recipe for cooking up a big impact: UnitedHealthcare covers more lives under Medicare Advantage plans than any other payor, and 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store. Only time will tell whether the partnership turns into a nationwide success story, but it’s hard to think of another duo that would have a better shot at pulling it off.