by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | September 16, 2022
UnitedHealth Group is teaming up with Walmart to expand value-based care models to hundreds of thousands of seniors and Medicare beneficiaries to improve their outcomes and experiences.
As part of the 10-year partnership, the two will begin their work at 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia in January 2023, expanding to other geographic locations over time.
They will make Walmart Health Virtual Care in-network for members of UnitedHealthcare’s Choice Plus PPO plan, giving consumers another option to access care whenever and wherever. And in Georgia, they will incorporate a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan, UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Walmart Flex.
“This collaboration puts the patient at the center of healthcare by leveraging the strength and complementary skill sets of our two companies to accelerate access to quality care,” said Doug McMillon, chief executive officer of Walmart, in a statement.
Walmart Health provides primary and urgent care, labs, X-ray and diagnostic exams, behavioral health, dental, optometry and hearing services at 27 locations in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Illinois. Ninety percent of the population lives within 10 miles of one, which is partially what inspired the partnership, according to Fierce Healthcare
UnitedHealth Group business Optum will provide analytics and decision support tools to Walmart Health clinicians, who will use them to come up with value-based care plans.
These capabilities are expected to improve care at Walmart Health centers, and speed the transition to value-based care by concentrating on patient outcomes.
The Medicare Advantage market is growing fast, and Walmart already has a stake in the sector, making it a good starting point, according to Fierce Healthcare.
Walmart and UnitedHealth Group plan to eventually serve people with commercial and Medicaid plans, offering access to fresh food and addressing social determinants of health. They also will offer 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, chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group.
The deal will allow Walmart to add UnitedHealth's Medicare Advantage members to its customer base, and will give UnitedHealth access to the largest U.S. retailer's footprint and a new venue for enrolling more people, reported Reuters
. It also puts Walmart on more level footing with competitors CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Dr. David Carmouche, senior vice president of omnichannel care offerings at Walmart, told Fierce Healthcare that affordability is also a focus. "The affordability piece we think is driven better in a value-based environment."