Walmart, UnitedHealth ink agreement to offer data-powered preventive care

The news: Walmart and UnitedHealth Group signed a 10-year deal to offer preventive care for seniors and Medicare beneficiaries.

  • Walmart and UnitedHealth Group will team up at 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia in 2023 to provide preventive care for people ages 65+.
  • UnitedHealthcare Choice Plus PPO members can access Walmart Health virtual care.
  • Walmart Health clinicians will use UnitedHealth’s Optum analytics and decision support tools to boost value-based care (VBC).
  • The two companies will offer a cobranded Medicare Advantage plan called UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Walmart Flex.

Trendspotting: Walmart will keep pace with CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance by expanding its physician network, offering VBC, and accessing analytics.

  • For example, CVS, which owns Aetna, announced it will acquire Signify Health for about $8 billion to expand its value-based care network and access Signify’s proprietary analytics platform. CVS will benefit from Signify’s analytics technology, while Walmart will leverage Optum’s analytics tools to gain insight on the social determinants of health (SDOH) for patient populations.
  • Meanwhile, Walgreens invested $5.2 billion in primary care provider VillageMD in October 2021 to make gains in the retail clinic battle.

Analytics informs care: Companies such as Walmart and CVS recognize the value of tools like Optum and Signify in addressing patients’ SDOH factors.

  • 41% of Medscape’s physician audience considered investment in the “technological and human capacity to connect patients with community resources they need to be healthy” as very important, per an April 2022 Physicians Foundation survey.

Under VBC contracts, providers use data analytics to gain insight on which patients will experience adverse health outcomes—and doctors get paid according to their patients’ health outcomes. Optum analytics will help Walmart Health physicians in underserved areas in Florida and Georgia (and later other areas) gain key insights on the drivers of health conditions—which predominantly include SDOH factors like housing instability, food insufficiency, and transportation. Meanwhile, UnitedHealth will benefit from the deal by expanding the reach of its Medicare Advantage plans.

Go deeper: Read more about SDOH programs in our Social Determinants of Health Investments report.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.

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