Walmart Takes on Amazon in the Telehealth Market
Walmart Buys MeMD
Walmart (WMT) recently acquired MeMD, a telehealth provider, as it works to compete with Amazon in the telehealth market. The nation’s largest retailer plans to provide virtual health care services nationwide. Walmart didn’t disclose how much it paid for MeMD.
Walmart’s move comes as Amazon gears up to provide its telehealth service to employees this summer. The ecommerce giant will also offer the service to other employers.
Big Opportunities in the Health Services Industry
Walmart and Amazon are taking the lessons they have learned providing health insurance to their workforces as they begin to offer more healthcare services to consumers. This is enabling the two retailers to enter a large and growing market.
They are not alone. CVS Health (CVS) and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) are also expanding their telehealth services. Both companies have expanded their offerings this past year during the pandemic. The big players’ interest is spurring consolidation in the telehealth market and pressuring the current sector leader, Teladoc Health (TDOC). Teladoc’s shares fell last week on news of Walmart’s acquisition of MeMed.
Consumers Benefit from Competition in the Healthcare Market
Walmart entered the healthcare market two years ago, opening a handful of clinics within its stores. It also partners with telehealth companies including Doctor on Demand, a service which is now available to its 1.3 million employees in the US.
Walmart plans to offer its telehealth services to consumers who want cheaper and more transparent pricing for their healthcare. It plans to leverage its 4,700 stores to expand the business.
Demand for telehealth is growing as individuals seek more affordable healthcare. With competition heating up between the nation’s largest retailer and the country’s biggest ecommerce player, consumers will have more options for how to approach their healthcare.
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