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Walmart begins selling health plans in time for Medicare's annual enrollment period

Walmart Insurance Services will offer a range of plan options, including Part D, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans.

Mallory Hackett, Associate Editor

Walmart has taken another step deeper into the health space by launching Walmart Insurance Services, a licensed insurance brokerage, the company announced Tuesday.

The brokerage is all set to begin selling Medicare insurance plans during this year's annual enrollment period, beginning October 15 and ending December 7. Walmart Insurance Services is licensed in all 50 states, plus Washington D.C.

It will offer a range of plan options, including Part D, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans, from a variety of insurers, such as Humana, UnitedHealthcare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Amerigroup, Simply Health, Wellcare (Centene), Clover Health and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Walmart plans to add more carriers in the future, it said in a statement.

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The retailer wanted to forge into the health insurance world to offer quality health services with low, transparent prices in what is typically a "cumbersome, confusing process," Walmart said in its announcement.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT

Through a flurry of announcements in recent weeks, Walmart has secured a foothold in the health industry.

The first came at the end of last month and shared that Walmart Health's care clinics would be expanding into new markets for 2021. The clinics, which originally were established in Georgia, will now be located in the Chicago area as well as in Florida.

Following that, Walmart began a pilot program that uses drones to deliver COVID-19 test kits to homes in the North Las Vegas and Cheektowaga, New York areas.

Last week Walmart announced it would offer a new Medicare Advantage health plan through Clover Health. The new plan called LiveHealthy: Clover Powered, Walmart Enhanced (PPO) will be available in eight counties in Georgia.

THE LARGER TREND

With the annual enrollment period quickly approaching, insurers are sharing their updated coverage for 2021.

Cigna is planning to expand its MA plans into 67 new counties in five new states, with both HMO and PPO plans available. UnitedHealthcare announced its updated MA offerings that span across 35 states. Humana is also growing into new territories by adding 69 new plans across hundreds of additional counties.

ON THE RECORD

"We want customers to feel confident in selecting a Medicare plan that best fits their needs, budget and lifestyle," said David Sullivan, the general manager of Walmart Insurance Services. "And we want to be a trusted partner on their health care journey. Helping customers select the right Medicare insurance plan to meet their needs aligns with Walmart's mission of helping people save money and live better."

Twitter: @HackettMallory
Email the writer: mhackett@himss.org