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Why Transcarent is sending self-insured companies to Walmart’s health services

Transcarent, which is works with companies to steer their employees toward higher-quality, lower-cost care, struck a partnership with Walmart. It will offer Walmart’s health services, including its prescription prices, to self-insured companies. 

At HLTH, Walmart’s new healthcare leader Dr. Cheryl Pegus and Transcarent CEO Glen Tullman talked about ways to make healthcare accessible for more people.

The two companies recently struck a partnership. It’s not so much about Transcarent offering its services to Walmart, as it is about Transcarent offering Walmart’s healthcare services to other self-insured companies.

“It allows self-insured employers to get access to the buying power of Walmart,” Tullman said in an interview with MedCity News.

For example, companies could access Walmart’s drug prices, such as its $4 generics. Walmart also recently struck a deal with Novo Nordisk to offer a private label version of its analog fast-acting insulin for about $73 per vial, a significant discount from current prices.

Transcarent could do a “med checkup” to identify medications where people could save money and reduce patient copays.

“We know the higher the copay, the less people pick up their meds. So who does that impact disproportionately? It’s the lower quartile economically,” he said. “It’s surprising how many meds (there are) where people are paying in some cases very large copays, and we think we can eliminate a lot of that.”

Employees would also have access to Walmart’s other health services, including its vision centers, testing, primary care and telehealth services.

“Those are all areas we’ll explore,” he said.

In recent years, Walmart has set out to build health centers in its stores, which include primary care, dental, therapy and other preventive services. Walmart has a little over 20 of such health centers, and more planned to open, but the rollout has been slow as many top leaders behind the effort have departed.

Self-insured companies would also be able to access telehealth services through MeMD, which Walmart acquired earlier this year, emphasizing virtual behavioral health services.

At HLTH, Pegus said Walmart made the acquisition after seeing that the company’s customers were looking for primary care and behavioral health.

“When we looked at these communities… what we said is how do you get them care not five years from now, when we build more clinics — we have a number of them today, we’re going into Florida next year — but it takes a while to get clinics to all of these places,” she said. ” We needed to have a tool and a service to be able to do that. We did an acquisition earlier this year to be able to provide that.”

Meanwhile, Transcarent will continue to build on its work of striking risk-based agreement with companies to steer their employees to higher quality and lower cost care settings. Tullman, the former chairman of Livongo, debuted his newest venture earlier this year, giving employees access to health guides, second opinions, medication reviews and virtual physical therapy. As of this summer, it had more than 100 self-funded employers as clients, some of which it brought on by acquiring a surgical centers of excellence program.

Photo credit: Walmart