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Wal-Mart VP talks consumerism, price points in health care

Wal-Mart VP talks consumerism, price points in health care
by Emily Kubis | Nashville Post | Feb 13, 2015

Osborne: Health care industry ‘not ready’ for Millennials

Wal-Mart plans to tap into the growing retail health space by targeting Millennials, dropping price points and capitalizing on the company’s massive scale, said Marcus Osborne, the company’s vice president of health and wellness payer relations.

Osborne told an audience at a Nashville Health Care Council event Friday about his plans to drive the future of Wal-Mart’s health care business, which has been referred to by some stakeholders as a “sleeping giant” in the consumerism space.

“Health care services is one of the areas that we’ve been under developed in,” Osborne said, “But we think there’s potential to grow.”

He said the key to capitalizing on that potential is to deliver services simply and offer transparency in pricing, particularly at a lower point than traditional providers can. The company is piloting primary care clinics in some of its Texas stores with a flat visit fee of $40 and a cap of $60 after tests and other services. For Wal-Mart’s 1.4 million employees, visit costs could be as low as $4.

“A price point under the $60 level is where we think you’ll really get that consumer engagement,” Obsorne said. “If you can deliver things simply and price it right, deliver transparency, people will engage. Customer confusion is bad for retail. When the consumer is confused, they put away their money.”

Another growth factor is targeting the Millennial population, which is increasingly holding more of the nation’s purchasing power and is less likely to engage with traditional health care services.

“What they want is wildly different than other groups,” Osborne told the crowd. “That’s the question: Are you ready to market to Millennials? Wholesale, I would say you are not.”

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