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Healthy Skepticism About Walmart and Humana

Healthy Skepticism About Walmart and Humana

Walmart may turn to an unlikely source to attract more shoppers and fight off Amazon.

Walmart is in the early stages of acquiring the health insurance giant, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Interestingly, the CVS-Aetna deal came nearly a full year after a federal judge blocked a merger that would have resulted in Aetna acquiring the Louisville, Ky. -based Humana, which at the time was the largest acquisition of its type in the history of health insurance in the US, reported at $37 billion.

Humana and Walmart have the market income of #27 billion and $264 billion, respectively.

For Walmart, any deal would represent a major move into a relatively new area of business.

"Walmart would face serious risks if it finishes caught up in the hard U.S. healthcare industry, especially now when the company is struggling with the tough challenges of the fast-changing retail market", said managing director from GlobalData Retail, Neil Saunders.

Walmart says it has 11,718 stores worldwide. The company has expanded online, but its digital sales slowed last quarter, sending the stock tanking.

Closer ties between the two could enable the retailer to tap into Humana's patient roster and possibly put some of its physician clinics in stores to offer medical care to customers.

"As we move forward, we will work with all of these individuals, their families, and local social service agencies to find new arrangements that will provide support to participants, including the opportunity to hire these people directly", he said. It has also raised its minimum wage in recent years, in part to fight criticism that it underpays workers.




"There has been much speculation about other insurance companies or retailers eyeing a tie-up with Humana".

Walmart plans to enroll all of its export and domestic suppliers in China, starting with 100 of its top suppliers, into an emissions reduction program in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country.

The two companies are discussing a variety of options, and it is not certain they will strike a deal.

The negotiations, which neither Walmart nor Humana has so far acknowledged, might be another response by Walmart to a recent announcement by Amazon.com Inc.

Humana has 5.1 million seniors on prescription drug benefits and another 3.5 million on full medical benefits, according to Ana Gupte, senior health care analyst with Leerink Partners in NY.

Becoming more involved in the complex USA health care market would be a risk for Walmart, one analyst said, according to Reuters.

Humana is a good fit for helping Walmart capture an important segment of the consumer healthcare world.

An acquisition of Louisville, Ky. -based Humana would significantly expand Walmart's reach into healthcare, an area in which the Bentonville, Ark. -based retailer has expressed interest.

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