BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is offering prescriptions at no upfront cost to patients who enroll in the public health insurance marketplace, the mass-merchandise retailer said.
In a New Year's Eve announcement, the retailer said that through the end of January, it would fill up to a 30-day supply of prescriptions with no upfront cost to customers who have enrolled in the marketplace, but have not yet received their plan identification information from their insurance providers. Pharmacists at the stores will be able to help patients verify enrollment and answer questions about the new insurance plans.
"At Walmart, we are committed to offering our customers affordable ways to stay healthy, including access to their medications," Walmart SVP health and wellness John Agwunobi said. "Customers who have signed up for the public health exchanges should be able to access their benefits immediately."
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act took full effect Wednesday as the new year began. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 2.1 million people have enrolled in a private health insurance plan through the federal and state-based marketplaces, but due to glitches in the marketplaces early on, that's more than 1 million less than the number that had been expected. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it's hoped about 7 million people will be enrolled this year.