Amazon is starting to move into the health care market, CVS is ready to close a deal on acquiring Aetna, and Walmart is trying to keep up with the competition. Humana has an existing relationship with Walmart’s pharmacies, but now Walmart is leaning towards purchasing Humana for approximately $37 billion.
Such a merger would benefit both parties, as Humana can grow their overall revenue and Walmart can keep up with other major corporations that are getting into the health care space. Plus, Walmart pharmacies will eventually be able to lower costs especially for two groups: seniors and Walmart employees.
Walmart employees may soon find themselves with Humana plans and major pharmacy discounts. Seniors who frequent Walmart stores will benefit because Humana has a strong focus on Medicare Advantage plans. Plus, according to Business Insider, most of Walmart’s consumers are at least 50 years old. Even if they aren’t eligible for Medicare Advantage plans now, they will be by the time health care and retail partnerships become the norm.
A bonus benefit to mergers like this is that consumers may see their doctors more often. If they can stop by their in-network clinic, pick up their in-network prescription, and do their grocery shopping all in one place, they may actually use their health care benefits! This is especially beneficial to the elderly and disabled who have a hard time finding adequate transportation. As long as they can find a way to get to Walmart, they can take care of their shopping and health care all in one day. We may see an improvement in overall health as more and more people (especially seniors and Medicare eligibles) begin to take advantage of preventative care benefits like flu shots and wellness visits.
If the deal goes through, Walmart will also have access to Humana’s consumer health data. Walmart will be able to use that data to alter their marketing efforts and better cater to their health care consumers. Partnerships like this are really the beginning of a completely new health care industry. Who knows what will come next?