The world's largest retailer is jumping into the health insurance game, unveiling a program that will help its customers find and compare health plans.
Wal-Mart Stores said Monday that it is teaming with online health insurance brokerage DirectHealth.com. Wal-Mart shoppers will be able to sign up in stores for health plans, such as those being sold on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's marketplaces and private Medicare plans.
The move will likely funnel more business to DirectHealth.com, but health policy experts say it could be a boon for Wal-Mart as well. Dr. Fred Hyde, a health policy professor at Columbia University in New York City, said the health insurance industry is difficult to navigate, especially because the ACA has expanded the number of options for many consumers. Shoppers who come into Wal-Mart for routine products may eventually view the retailer as a go-to resource for questions about complicated health plans.