Is A Healthcare Super Center A Real Thing?
President/CEO at Healthcare Solutions Direct, LLC, a nationwide insurance agency focused primarily on the retiree health market.
When you think about where to go for general healthcare, a specific picture most likely comes to mind. You may picture your doctor’s office, then your dentist’s office, or you may start thinking about where you go for your bloodwork or x-rays. You may picture an urgent health clinic as your starting point, hoping that they can address your issue with just one visit.
Healthcare has a lot of stops if you are really taking proper care of yourself. Walmart is now asking the question, why is that? Is it better to visit each specialist individually, or would you rather have everything in one place? The answer is really based on individual preference because many of us love our doctors too much to mind any inconvenience related to visiting their office. However, for those looking for something different, Walmart is attempting to disrupt the primary care process.
A super center for your health
Walmart Health centers are springing up across the country and now offering more than just vaccinations and urgent care solutions. They are attempting to create a one-stop shop with primary medical services, dental care, and behavioral health services. These services also include labs, x-ray and diagnostics, eye care, and hearing services.
The problem they are attempting to address is access. A health super center with everything you need under one roof can mean a single visit to a single location. It can save you time and add so much convenience. If someone is struggling to get out and about, or they rely on others to drive them places, this can be an attractive new concept.
The first Walmart Health facility has already opened in Dallas, and Georgia. Walmart plans to expand their health super centers into Florida in 2021. The more of these that pop up, could mean better served local communities when it comes to health needs. This includes the large population of baby boomers, but also enables aging Generation Xers and millennials to have better access to quick and affordable care.
The cost of super center care
In addition to access, the business model for Walmart Health is all about affordability and transparency. Prices are shared upfront for care, so that there is no sticker shock when you get a medical bill. Payment plans are available as well. You can use your insurance, and its deductible to cover your health costs, but Walmart is pledging that it will not turn anyone away who is not insured.
Price points start at levels that most people can meet, and the goal is making care more affordable no matter your coverage. In Dallas and in Georgia, adult primary care visits start at $40, lab tests start at $10, and a teeth cleaning for an adult begins at $25. There is also no paperwork to complete. If you are on a fixed income or have a month with surprise expenses, using Walmart Health may provide an affordable alternative to general care regardless of what insurance you have.
The start of a new trend?
Walmart is not actually the first brand to get into the healthcare game. Drug stores like CVS and Walgreens that have long offered smaller clinics within their store are now also expanding. CVS is opening what they call Health Hubs, which will add to the list of services found at well-known MinuteClinic’s. Walgreens is partnering with several companies to test out different models of expanded healthcare. Through the Walgreens Boots Alliance, you may find Primary Care Clinics just for Medicare beneficiaries or those with Humana or UnitedHealth. The availability of doctor office alternatives is steadily increasing.
The potential for problems
While there are many benefits to having more access to affordable healthcare, there is a drawback to big service centers like this. This could turn the healthcare system into a more corporate venture than it is right now. If someone is not seeing the same doctor every time, how patient centric is the treatment? Are they giving up that relationship that develops between them and their doctor for the sake of convenience? Will they become just a set of test results in a file?
For this new concept to work, it may really all come down to how comfortable someone feels working with doctors in these new health super centers. If it is not comfortable and people feel like just a number, it will not be worth going back even for the lower price.
Super centers do not replace good health insurance
Even with the attractive potential for a cheap doctor’s visit, places like Walmart Health should not replace good health insurance. This is especially true for seniors who have the right Medicare coverage. Having the proper coverage while on Medicare means that you are not only protecting your general well-being, but you are protected if something more serious should take place. Super centers can boast strong general care, but they are not a hospital. They most likely will not have every type of specialist you may need to see under one roof.
To make sure your medical needs are covered, even if you decide to make Walmart your go-to for general healthcare, it is best to work with a knowledgeable insurance agent. At Healthcare Solutions Direct, our team is well versed in the latest regulations connected to Medicare. We walk you step-by-step through the coverage available to you in your area. This ensures that you understand your plan before you select it. Think of us as your partner in all things related to your Medicare health insurance. Contact us today to learn more.
Contact Healthcare Solutions Direct to understand your options
Finding the right Medicare plan for your personal needs is essential to maintaining both physical and mental health in an affordable way. While getting the right coverage is important, finding the balance between care and cost is too. Let the insurance experts at Healthcare Solutions Direct help you navigate your Medicare plan options. We represent the major Medicare carriers in the US, allowing us to pinpoint the best choice for you. After pairing you with the right plan, we walk you through the entire process, supporting you the entire way. To learn more, contact us today.
The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.