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Anthem, Walmart Partner for Over-the-Counter Drug Allowance

A partnership between Anthem and Walmart will give Medicare Advantage beneficiaries a new benefit to pay for over-the-counter drugs and other health items.

An Anthem-Walmart partnership will provide a new OTC benefit to Medicare Advantage members.

Source: Thinkstock

By Thomas Beaton

- A new partnership between Anthem and Walmart will allow Medicare Advantage beneficiaries to purchase over-the-counter drugs and other drug store necessities with a plan allowance.

Starting in January of 2019, Anthem beneficiaries will be able to purchase OTC medications, first-aid supplies, and other health items such as support braces and pain relievers, using the new benefit. Members can shop in Walmart stores or purchase qualifying items online.

Executives at Anthem believe increasing OTC access can help beneficiaries address immediate healthcare needs while reducing the out-of-pocket expenses for elderly members who may be on fixed or limited incomes.

“Creating a better healthcare future requires us to think differently about how we can develop innovative and meaningful healthcare solutions for consumers,” said Felicia Norwood, Executive Vice President and President of Anthem’s Government Business Division.

“We are pleased to join with Walmart to create an initiative that combines Anthem’s deep understanding of the needs of senior consumers, with Walmart’s unwavering commitment to saving people money and developing a seamless shopping experience. We believe that programs like this can make a tremendous difference for healthcare consumers who often live on a fixed income or are managing chronic medical conditions.”

An Anthem spokesperson said in an emailed statement to HealthPayerIntelligence that the benefit allowance amount depends upon the beneficiary’s health plan. Anthem will have more information available during the Medicare open enrollment period.

The partnership leverages Walmart’s extensive retail network of 4700 retail stores. The retailer estimates that 90 percent of Americans live within ten miles of a Walmart location and believes it is the best partner to help enhance the value of Anthem’s Medicare Advantage plans.

“Walmart is committed to making healthcare more affordable and accessible, and we are in constant pursuit of new ways to deliver on this commitment,” said Sean Slovenski, Senior Vice President of Health and Wellness for Walmart US.

“We are thrilled to be working with Anthem to provide its Medicare Advantage members with convenient access to our broad assortment of high-quality over-the counter products – all available at everyday low prices.”

The partnership provides Anthem with a value-add opportunity for its growing Medicare Advantage business. The payer currently serves around 130,000 Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.

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