Anthem has announced its decision to partner with Walmart to advance the companies’ mutual goals to reduce healthcare costs and provide consumers with increased access to over-the counter (OTC) medicines and services.
Set to launch in 2019, the programme will enable consumers who are enrolled in Anthem’s affiliated Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to use OTC plan allowances to purchase OTC medications and health-related items, such as first aid supplies, support braces, and pain relievers at Walmart’s 4,700 stores and online.
MA has grown from $69.9bn in 2007 to $202.7bn in 2017, Healthcare Dive has reported.
The new collaboration is expected to improve access to these items while significantly reducing the out-of-pocket costs for those enrolled in Anthem’s affiliated MA plans.
“Creating a better healthcare future requires us to think differently about how we can develop innovative and meaningful healthcare solutions for consumers,” said Felicia Norwood, Executive Vice President and President, Government Business Division, Anthem.
“We are pleased to join with Walmart to create an initiative that combines Anthem’s deep understanding of the needs of senior consumers, with Walmart’s unwavering commitment to saving people money and developing a seamless shopping experience.
“We believe that programmes like this can make a tremendous difference for healthcare consumers who often live on a fixed income or are managing chronic medical conditions.”
With more than 90% of Americans living within 10 miles of a Walmart store, this new initiative is expected to be important to older adults who seek more value for their money and a convenient shopping experience.
According to the Social Security Administration, nearly a quarter of married seniors and four out of 10 unmarried older adults rely on their Social Security benefit, which averages just over $1,400 a month, for at least 90% of their income.
The news follows on from Anthem’s ongoing discussions to acquire MA giant Humana, following Aetna’s withdrawal, whilst Walmart was set to acquire online pharmacy PillPack, but was piped to the post by Amazon who offered $1bn for the start-up.
Additionally, Walmart has recently revealed that it has won its blockchain patent for use within the use of storing medical records, which it submitted in December last year.