Best Buy, Costco and more: 5 companies pivoting to healthcare

When considering healthcare disruptors, companies such as Walmart and CVS come to mind. However, there are other household names trying to enter the healthcare sector.

Here is how five big-name companies are foraying into healthcare:

1. Amazon. Though the retail giant has made previous attempts to add healthcare services to its repertoire, past iterations have not proved profitable. It shuttered Halo, its health and fitness device line, on July 31, as well as its virtual care offering, Amazon Care, on Dec. 31. 

However, with the company's $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical in February, Amazon offered discounted One Medical memberships for its annual Prime Day sales event, lowering the yearly price tag from $199 to $144 for 24/7 access to virtual care, online appointment scheduling and prescription renewals.

Currently, Amazon is deciding whether to tie the primary care services of One Medical to its Prime membership program, Insider reported Sept. 18.

The idea of offering One Medical's primary care services at a discounted price to existing Prime members is one idea on the table for new subscription programs, according to Insider, citing "people familiar with the matter." 

2. Best Buy. The company made a big splash in healthcare in recent years, and it appears as though those investments are paying off. The company purchased remote monitoring company Current Health in 2021 for $400 million. The tech retailer's health system clients for home-based care include Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger, New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System, New York City-based NYU Langone Health, Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health and Peoria, Ill.-based OSF HealthCare.

3. Costco. The warehouse club company will offer its members $29 virtual primary care visits through a partnership with healthcare marketplace Sesame. Members will also have access to $79 mental health visits and 10 percent off other medical services on the platform, which allows clinicians to set prices and patients to pay them directly instead of going through insurance. 

"Costco getting into healthcare is another example of the general patient consumer audience asking for more availability of care on their terms, when they want it," Aaron Miri, chief information and digital officer of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Baptist Health, told Becker's. "Systems have to learn to work together with the big box retailers and other collaborators in this space to ensure equitable access for all while meeting the general consumer needs of access." 

4. Meijer. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Meijer will offer a co-branded Medicare Advantage plan in 2024. The plans will include a $660 allowance for members to spend on health and wellness items in Meijer stores. For members with chronic conditions, this allowance can be used to purchase groceries in Meijer stores. The plan will have no monthly premium or annual deductible. 

5. Uber. Uber launched a benefit program with Medicare Advantage to allow members to request rides for nonemergency medical visits.

Uber's food delivery service, Uber Eats, said it is working with Medicare Advantage and Medicaid to accept benefits and waiver payments for healthy food delivery. The new payment methods, which could include Medicare Flex and Flexible Spending Account cards, are expected to be ready in 2024.

The company will also start accepting food stamp benefits as payment next year to support people with disabilities or transportation challenges and delivery of over-the-counter medication through its HIPAA-enabled platform.

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