Walmart plans to provide "full primary care services" to consumers nationwide within five to seven years, a company official said on Friday.
The retail giant made headlines in 2011 when it sent 14-page letters to health providers and companies requesting information to help it establish "the largest provider of primary health care services in the nation." However, the company quickly clarified that it was "not building a national, integrated, low-cost primary health care platform."
Speaking at the Foundation of Associated Industries of Florida's 2013 Health Care Affordability Summit, Marcus Osborne—Walmart's vice president of health and wellness payer relations—was asked whether the retailer plans to pursue retail clinics in rural areas.
He said, "That's where we're going now: full primary care services in five to seven years."
Osborne added that Walmart's clinics will be in underserved, urban areas because the chain has many stores in those areas. "One of the areas we're highlighting is where there isn't access to care," he said.
Company also exploring private health insurance exchange
Speaking with the Orlando Business Journal, Osborne also discussed Walmart's plan to explore new, low-cost health insurance options tailored for small companies. As part of that effort, Osborne suggested that Walmart's exchange could leverage the firm's purchasing power and PR resources to develop low-cost options and promote enrollment (Aboraya, Orlando Business Journal, 1/11; Clinton, Orlando Business Journal, 1/11).