Walmart to sell Medicare plans in latest healthcare push

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FILE PHOTO: Walmart’s logo is seen outside one of the stores in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

(Reuters) – Walmart Inc <WMT.N> said on Tuesday it would sell Medicare insurance plans in 50 states and Washington D.C. through its broker, marking the U.S. retailer’s latest move into the healthcare space.

Walmart Insurance Services LLC, which was launched in July, will offer policies from health insurers such as Humana Inc <HUM.N>, UnitedHealth Group <UNH.N> and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield from Oct. 15-Dec. 7, the company said.

Medicare Advantage plans cater to Americans older than 65 and those with disabilities.

The company already operates health centers across the United States, offering low-cost services such as dental care and counseling.

Walmart’s move comes at a time when health insurers face rising costs as Americans catch up on less urgent surgeries delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hospitals rescheduled elective surgeries to reduce the burden on the healthcare system as coronavirus cases surged, while some patients canceled appointments to avoid potential contraction of the respiratory illness caused by the virus.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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