Walmart "Rolls Back" Health Costs with In-Store Clinics

the MPR take:

They’re known for their everyday low prices on everything from clothing to groceries to home goods, but now a major retailer is cutting prices for healthcare as well. Walmart is currently operating Walmart Care Clinics in select stores in four states to provide healthcare at only $40 per visit, with plans to build five more clinics by the end of the year. Other retail clinics operated by competitors like CVS only offer acute care services, but the Walmart Care Clinics are also equipped to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes. Walmart has also undercut the competition with prices for testing; while CVS charges $8 for a pregnancy test at its clinic and up to $69 for a cholesterol test, Care Clinics offer these for $3 and $8, respectively. Presently the Care Clinics only accept Walmart employee insurance and Medicare/Medicaid in some states. A spokesperson for Walmart estimates that 40% of patients seen at the Care Clinics do not have a primary care provider. The presence of healthcare in Walmart stores with low, transparent pricing may encourage customers to seek treatment for acute and chronic conditions, but the location of the clinics within the stores indicates that the retailer is also hoping for a boost in sales of their other products as well.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pushed down prices for some generic prescription drugs to just $4 eight years ago, setting a new industry standard. Now it is trying to do the same for seeing a doctor.

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