The sheer scale at which Walmart operates can be difficult to fully appreciate. The company employs 2.2 million people around the world (1.5 million of them in the U.S.) and for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2020, they reported total revenue of $524 billion. Much of the store's success comes down to a constant adoption of new products and movements into new areas, and the latest could be one of the biggest—Walmart just announced that during the Annual Enrollment Period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, they will sell Medicare insurance plans.
Medicare insurance plans will be offered through Walmart in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. with the company announcing that Walmart Insurance Services will provide Medicare plans (Part D, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Supplement plans) offered by Humana, UnitedHealthcare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Amerigroup, Simply Health, Wellcare (Centene), Clover Health, and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. More carriers may be added in the future.
The announcement builds on Walmart Insurance Services LLC, which launched in July 2020. This was a significant move into the healthcare space for Walmart, which already operates health centers across the United States, providing low cost dental care and counseling with transparent, relatively low prices. Further Walmart clinics will be rolled out in the Jacksonville, Florida, and Chicago, Illinois areas in the near future. Earlier this year, the company also launched an insurance agency in Dallas focusing on Medicare.
This is a time of intense competition and upheaval in the health insurance industry as insurers face rising costs following a year of delayed surgeries and elective procedures that were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other patients canceled doctors' visits due to the virus, with a bottleneck of medical work resulting. "We want customers to feel confident in selecting a Medicare plan that best fits their needs, budget and lifestyle," David Sullivan, general manager of Walmart Insurance Services, said in a statement. "And we want to be a trusted partner on their health care journey."
For more recent changes from America's biggest retailer, read on. And if want to know when to shop (and when not to), check out This Is the Absolute Worst Time to Shop at Walmart, Employees Say.
They stopped selling the Mississippi flag.
In late June, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Walmart announced that it would no longer be selling the Mississippi flag, due to the prominently featured Confederate flag that's a part of its design. And for more moves from the company, check out Walmart and Target Are Pulling These Controversial Items From Their Stores.
They stopped locking up multicultural beauty products.
Also in response to the murder of George Floyd and racial injustices it brought to the forefront, Walmart announced in June that would end the policy of putting multicultural beauty products in locked cases, amid complaints that the practice was discriminatory.
They launched a new "elevated" clothing line.
On a less serious note, in September, Walmart announced the launch of a brand-new fashion line that was two years in the making called Free Assembly. And for more scores from the world's largest retailer, check out 20 Amazing Home Decor Items From Walmart.
And they started delivering via drone.
Also in September, Walmart announced a pilot program for the delivery of grocery and household products through automated drones. The drone delivery program was first tested on Sept. 9 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. And for more up-to-date information on Walmart and more, sign up for our daily newsletter.