Why would Walmart launch an insurance education service for the 140 million Americans who shop its stores each week? For one thing, because more than 60% of Americans have a tough time understanding their health insurance plan options, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation, and nearly 40% feel that they picked the wrong plan after enrolling.
A retail pharmacy giant is beginning to fully harness the power of scale. Now firmly established as one of the top retailers of prescription drugs in the United States, Walmart may soon lay claim to an even bigger share of the pharmacy and OTC market as its leaders learn to align pharmacy operations and in-store marketing efforts more closely with other departments within Walmart’s Supercenters, discount stores and Neighborhood Markets.
A new and radically different concept for frontline health care emerged last year when Walmart unveiled its first Walmart Care Clinics in Texas, Georgia and South Carolina. If things go according to plan, patients and health plan payers across the United States can look forward to a cheaper and more affordable alternative to the family doctor for nearly all their primary care needs.
The retail behemoth that is Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is fixing its sights on a new target: the nation’s overstretched and overly costly primary healthcare system. The result could be a major disruption of that system and the acceleration of health reform in America.
While building a 4,500-store retail pharmacy powerhouse in the United States, Walmart also has kept pace with the specialty pharmacy revolution and is positioning itself to play a stronger role in this most innovative, dynamic and complex area of pharmaceutical R&D and bioengineering.
Whole Foods Market on Wednesday announced plans to debut a new store format targeted at millenials. The company said the stores are expected to begin opening next year, and the expansion will be “fairly rapid.”
Global responsibility and sustainability continue to be priorities for Walmart Stores. The company filed its proxy statement ahead of its June 5 annual shareholders meeting, and also issued its annual report, and the 2015 Global Responsibility Report and Global Compliance Program Report.
“Our health-and-wellness experts are leading the way for the future of health care in our stores and beyond.”
For any retail pharmacy provider, that would be a bold, perhaps even overly confident, assertion. But coming as it does from Walmart, it’s something that both the U.S. healthcare system and Walmart’s competitors are taking seriously.
Walmart’s share price will be under pressure in the coming years as a holding company created decades ago by the Walton family to control their ownership of the company prepares to unload as much as 6% of Walmart’s outstanding shares.