Sam's Club, Humana team up to mitigate high out-of-pocket healthcare costs

Sam’s Club is teaming up with Humana and telehealth startup 98point6 to pilot a program aimed at helping its members mitigate some out-of-pocket healthcare costs. 

The program, called Care Accelerator, is not meant to replace a health insurance plan but to make it easier for those with high deductibles and others with high upfront costs for care get access to basic services and prescriptions, Lori Flees, senior vice president for Sam’s Club Health and Wellness, wrote in a blog post

“Access to high-quality maintenance healthcare has been shown to improve overall, long-term health,” Flees wrote in the post. “We believe this program will help our members decrease out-of-pocket costs so they can better manage their budgets and their health.” 

Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart, is unveiling Care Accelerator just one day after a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation highlighted the rapid growth of deductibles over the past decade. The average deductible in 2019 for single coverage was $1,655, 41% higher than the average in 2014 and 162% higher than the average in 2009. 

RELATED: Walmart announces plan to build healthcare workforce, offering education for $1 a day 

Sam’s Club members that opt into the program will be able to purchase service bundles ranging from $50 to 240 per year that include a range of services.  

At the lowest price point, individual members can get certain generic drugs for free at Sam’s Club pharmacies, pay $1 for telehealth primary care visits at 98point6 and save on eye exams and glasses or dental care. 

Humana will manage the provider network that will be included in Care Accelerator, according to the blog post. 

At the $240 price point, up to six people can partake in the savings on generic drugs, telehealth visits, eye care and dental care along with free preventive screenings, discounts of up to 30% on alternative medicine such as chiropractic care or massages and 10% off of hearing aids purchased at Sam’s Club. 

Members who enroll in the $50 bundle will have access to five free generics, and those in the $240 will have access to 20 free generic drugs, Flees wrote. In addition, the bundles will come with a gift card ranging in value from $5 to $100 to be put toward healthcare expenses. 

Sam’s Club will pilot the program in Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, with the goal of expanding it to members across the country. The retailer also plans to take member feedback to modify or expand the services offered in Care Accelerator.