August 20, 2018
(Reuters) – Anthem Inc <ANTM.N> said on Monday it has partnered with Walmart Inc <WMT.N> to launch a program in January 2019 that will allow its Medicare Advantage plan customers to purchase over-the-counter medications from the retailer’s stores and website.
Anthem said the program will provide OTC drugs and health-related items, such as first aid supplies, support braces, and pain relievers at reduced costs.
The Medicare Advantage plan, which competes with the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program, provides healthcare coverage to about 17 million Americans and is offered by insurers including UnitedHealth Group Inc <UNH.N>, and Aetna Inc <AET.N>.
Leerink analyst Ana Gupte said the collaboration emphasizes Anthem’s increasing focus and success on Medicare Advantage growth post the margin turnaround, adding the tie-up modestly dampens the likelihood of a near-term Humana deal or JV with Walmart.
Earlier this month, insurer Humana Inc <HUM.N>, which has a co-branded Medicare drug plan with Walmart, said it was looking to expand its tie-up with the retailer.
The Walmart-Humana partnership offers a prescription drug plan that saves up to 20 percent in drug costs for customers.
(Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)
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August 20, 2018 at 06:35PM
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