Many critics of our healthcare system recommend buying healthcare like you’d buy a car. Now Walmart is hoping on board, too.
On October 6, 2014, Walmart announced a partnership with DirectHealth.com, launching a program they call ‘Healthcare Begins Here’ that hopes to educate customers on health insurance options. DirectHealth.com specializes in health insurance comparisons, offering access to more than 1,700 plans from 12 insurance carriers for people over the age of 65, and access to thousands of plans from over 300 carriers for those under age 65.
“Walmart has long been known for innovation in health and wellness, and we’ll never stop delivering new products and services to the 140 million people who visit our stores each week,” Labeed Diab, senior vice president and president of Health & Wellness at Walmart said in a press release. “For years, our customers have told us that there is too much complexity when it comes to understanding their health insurance options. ‘Healthcare Begins Here’ addresses that complexity by bringing clarity and increased choice to the insurance enrollment process through DirectHealth.com.”
Notably, this service will only benefit Walmart by bringing more bodies into their stores. For many years, Walmart has hosted insurance agents from individual companies in their stores, allowing customers to ask questions and enroll in specific plans. This takes that offering to the next level, according to the release.
‘Healthcare Begins Here’ will focus mostly on an over-65 audience. 2,700 Walmarts will now staff independent, licensed health insurance agents who will teach customers about different plans and assist them when they decide to enroll. The business of healthcare is booming, so of course Walmart wants in. Which makes us wonder: who’s next?
Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.
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