Anthem has entered a new partnership with retail giant Walmart to offer members access to over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
Beginning in January, Anthem’s Medicare Advantage members will be able to use OTC plan allowances to purchase medications and other supplies such as support braces and pain relievers, the two companies announced on Monday.
Previously, MA beneficiaries with OTC allowances could purchase medications through a catalog or by calling a designated number. Some members were provided a card they could use at a limited set of retail stores.
The new partnership significantly expands access to OTC drugs and supplies by allowing members to make purchases at any of Walmart’s 4,700 locations.
“The program with Walmart will allow consumers to pick the shopping method that best fits their lifestyle and the initiative is expected to significantly reduce the out-of-pocket cost burden for those enrolled in Anthem’s affiliated MA health plan,” Anthem spokesperson Hieu Nguyen said in an email.
Walmart says 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart. The partnership will also give members access to free two-day shipping on orders $35 or more.
“We believe that programs like this can make a tremendous difference for healthcare consumers who often live on a fixed income or are managing chronic medical conditions,” Felicia Norwood, executive vice president and president of Anthem’s Government Business Division, said in a statement. Sean Slovenski, senior vice president of health and wellness at Walmart, said the company is “thrilled to be working with Anthem to provide its Medicare Advantage members with convenient access to our broad assortment of high-quality over-the-counter products.”