Walmart Enters the Health Care Market

August 15, 2014

By January 2015, Walmart will be operating a dozen primary care clinics across the country. Writing for Forbes, Dan Diamond, managing editor of the Advisory Board's Daily Briefing, explains that six clinics staffed with nurse practitioners are currently in operation in South Carolina and Texas.

These clinics are distinct from the 100 clinics that the large retailer has operated for several years in conjunction with local hospitals. The new operations, reports Diamond, will be fully-owned by Walmart and will operate seven days a week with longer hours than competing entities.

And the visits will be low-cost: just $40 for a walk-in appointment. The company's employees using Walmart's health plan will see even greater savings -- they can see a doctor in the clinic for just $4.

Walmart opened two clinics in Sumter and Florence, South Carolina, at the end of July. According to the Post and Courier, the company is expecting 1,200 of its own employees to benefit from the two clinics. Recently, Bernadette Simmons -- a Walmart assistant manager who does not have the company's health insurance -- visited the Sumter clinic and paid just $36 for a visit, which included lab work. The visit alone, she said, would have cost her $86 at a similar clinic in the area.

NCPA Senior Fellow John Graham recently blogged about this issue, writing, "Wal-Mart and other businesses outside the government-medical complex increasingly understand that there are opportunities outside those bureaucracies."

Source: Dan Diamond, "Health Care For $4: Are You Ready For Walmart To Be Your Doctor?" Forbes, August 8, 2014; Lauren Sausser, "Wal-Mart launches new primary care clinics in South Carolina," Post and Courier, August 1, 2014. 

 

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