Walmart is making its first foray into the self-insured employer market through a new partnership with healthcare startup Transcarent, the retailer announced Friday.
Employers that contract with Transcarent will share any cost savings that result from workers using Walmart expanding suite of healthcare services, which includes in-person clinics, discounted prescription drugs, virtual care, vision care and specialty medications. In addition to shared savings, Walmart stands to benefit from additional customers in its stores.
Transcarent currently has 100 self-insured employer clients and serves more than 1 million employees. Among the company's offerings are expert second opinions, medication reviews, and referrals to surgery sites and centers of excellence.
Transcarent seeks to ensure employees get accurate diagnoses and avoid unnecessary procedures, leading to savings for employers. Transcarent operates under a full at-risk model and doesn't charge employers upfront for access to its services. Transcarent also pays health systems upfront for surgeries.
"Employees can trust that Transcarent will focus on value and quality first, provide clear and unbiased information, offer a full range of choices and share the rewards with employees that their better health decisions generate," Transcarent CEO Glen Tullman, who founded the startup earlier this year, said in a news release. Tullman previously was CEO of health information technology vendor Allscripts and of Livongo, a digital health company that targets chronic disease patients.
Walmart has sought to expand its healthcare business for more than a decade, starting with a $4 generic prescription drug program launched through its existing pharmacy operations in 2008. The company experienced mixed results with its initial entries into retail clinics in the 2010s and has recalibrated its primary care strategy several times over the years. In 2019, the company partnered with Doctors on Demand for virtual mental health services. A year later, Walmart began selling Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans in its stores. Walmart acquired MedMD, a telehealth provider, this May.
Walmart's massive national presence is an advantage for self-insured employers and their workers, said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, the company's executive vice president of health and wellness.
"Most of America lives within 10 miles of a Walmart, which makes us uniquely positioned to deliver the right care at the right time in the right way," Pegus said. "We are proud to bring our size and scale to make it simple to live healthier and leverage our collaboration with Transcarent to reach even more people where they live and work."