UnitedHealth Group and Walmart on Wednesday announced a 10-year health care partnership, beginning with a co-branded Medicare Advantage health plan and enhancements for 15 clinics in the southeast United States.
Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group's insurance business, UnitedHealthcare, is the nation's largest health insurer. It's also the biggest provider of Medicare Advantage health plans, where seniors opt to receive government-funded health benefits through a private health insurer.
Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, operates a number of Walmart Health clinics that offer primary and urgent care along with other health care services in centers adjacent to Walmart Superstores.
As a part of this new partnership, the clinics will use analytics and decision-support tools from Optum, the health services business at UnitedHealth Group, with the goal of providing efficient, high-quality care for Medicare beneficiaries.
"We're on a journey to transform health care, connecting more people to the right care at the right time — at a cost that makes sense," Doug McMillon, Walmart's chief executive, said in a statement.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Earlier this year, Walmart worked with UnitedHealthcare to provide easy access to at-home COVID-19 tests through the retailer's pharmacies for people with commercial coverage.
"UnitedHealth Group and Walmart share a deep commitment to high-quality and affordable primary care led services that address all of a patient's health needs in ways that are convenient for them and improve health outcomes," Andrew Witty, chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group, said in a statement.
The co-branded Medicare Advantage plan will be an option for seniors in Georgia beginning in January. Also at that time, Walmart's virtual care services will become in-network for commercial members in UnitedHealthcare's Choice Plus PPO health plan.
Currently, Walmart Health operates 27 locations in four states. Clinicians at 15 centers in Florida and Georgia will be the first to use the analytics and decision support tools from Optum as part of a transition to "value-based care," which changes the way health care providers get paid.
The retailer also operates centers in Arkansas and Illinois and plans to expand the partnership "into new geographies over time," the companies said in a news release Wednesday.
"We're excited that this new collaboration will expand access to value-based care, helping seniors in Medicare Advantage plans enjoy a better overall experience, and improved health outcomes," Dan Schumacher, the chief strategy and growth officer at UnitedHealth Group, said in a statement.
Eventually, the collaboration could include efforts to improve access to fresh food, the companies said, as well as "enhancing current initiatives to address social determinants of health, over-the-counter and prescription medications, and dental and vision services."