Walmart Expands Virtual Primary Care for Employees

Retailers are entering the primary care market as they regard the size of the opportunity and a number of their competitors making investments. Combined with a number of recent acquisitions and ongoing consolidation by market participants, we view the primary care market undergoing a major transformation over the next few years.

As the nation’s largest private employer and a major investor in the health and well-being of associates, Walmart is expanding virtual primary care, building on the traditional telehealth service for occasional sick visits, to allow Walmart associates and their families the option to develop long-standing relationships with quality doctors across the country.

As part of this expansion, virtual care options for digestive health and physical therapy will also be available, including some basic at-home lab work early next year. Most virtual health care benefits are available at no cost to associates and their families ($0 co-pay).

Included Health, a new kind of healthcare company delivering integrated care and navigation for millions of people nationwide, with Walmart shared results from Walmart’s multi-year, multi-state Virtual Primary Care deployment.

Since launching Virtual Primary Care in January 2020 with Included Health, the company has successfully engaged its associates and their loved ones in preventive care, chronic care management, and mental health support as part of a virtual model.

Walmart’s Virtual Primary Care initiative has not only closed care access gaps in geographies linked to high emergency room use and low primary care use, but has also reduced healthcare costs as demonstrated by reduced measures across total cost of care, hospital readmissions, and in-patient expenses.

Results from Walmart’s multi-year, multi-state pilot include:

  • Virtual care patients saw an 11% reduction in total cost of care
  • About 30% of virtual care patients were seen for a chronic condition or preventative care
  • Those with diabetes who used the virtual primary care option saw a 24% average reduction in HbA1c levels
  • Patients with hypertension experienced a 14% reduction in blood pressure
  • After being seen as part of the virtual primary care service, only ~10% of Walmart’s participants then went on4to an in-person care setting


Takeaway: As primary care evolves from fee-for-service to value-based care reimbursement, new primary care models and providers are emerging. Sites of care are also moving from clinics to virtual platforms, care at home, and pharmacy retailers, among others