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CNBC reports that Walmart and insurance company Anthem had struck a deal that they hope will “expand access to over-the-counter medications for seniors.”

According to the story, “Starting in January, patients who are enrolled in Anthem's Medicare Advantage plans can use their insurance to cover some over-the-counter medications as well as other goods like first aid supplies and pain relievers at Walmart. The partnership allows patients to decrease their medical expenses and should help draw more shoppers to Walmart … Roughly 250,000 of Anthem's Medicare Advantage members currently have the OTC benefit, an Anthem spokesman said. The partnership could help Walmart's budding e-commerce business or boost foot traffic to its stores.”

Sean Slovenski, Walmart's senior vice president of health and wellness. tells CNBC, "Walmart is committed to making health care more affordable and accessible, and we are in constant pursuit of new ways to deliver on this commitment.” Walmart already has a “Medicare Advantage plan co-branded with Humana,” the story says, and Walmart “hosts wellness days at its stores and touts an exclusive line of diabetic supplies, branded ReliOn.”
KC's View:
It is interesting the degree to which retailers of various kinds are focusing on these markets as a long-term growth engine. Amazon clearly has designs on disrupting the health care business, and Best Buy is highly focused on the senior citizen market … and Walmart’s efforts sort of combine both of them. The question is to what degree other companies are going to have to adjust their business models and move in this direction.