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Reforming Delivery
Sam's Club Creates Private Exchanges to Rival ACA

First Wal-Mart installed licensed agents in its stores to help customers navigate health insurance, now Sam’s Club, a members-only retail chain owned by Walmart, is launching its own health insurance exchanges for its customers who own small business. The chain intends its new Aetna Marketplace for Sam’s Club to be a better alternative to the public insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act. Washington Post:

“While it’s no surprise that small business owners are strapped for time, our insights team really honed in on what causes this time crunch,” said Rosalind Brewer, chief executive of Sam’s Club, in a conference call with reporters.

They found that confusion over health insurance plans was a leading issue occupying small business owners’ time.  With the new exchange, they hope to provide a streamlined, simple offering.

In general, the more of the burden of infrastructure of both health insurance and health care that is taken up by business with a reputation for both efficiency and cost-savings, the better. New teams brought in to repair the disastrous launch of the federal and state exchanges last year now appear to have fixed many of the problems that suppressed enrollment and created mass confusion. But that initial failure remains emblematic of the inefficiencies and failed cost-control experiments that have plagued attempts at top-down health care reform. If Sam’s Club can help provide a better insurance shopping experience—all while Wal-Mart and other big box stores ramp up their delivery of health care through in-house clinics—we could be on our way to a more straightforward, cheaper health care system.

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  • Attila_the_hun

    ‘we could be on our way to a more straightforward, cheaper health care system.’
    I’m sure Obama and his thugs will find a way to stop it before it begins on grounds of fairness and equality

  • Andrew Allison

    Of course insurance (with, by law, the same coverage offered on the Exchanges) offered by a single company will save money [sarcasm alert]. Prospective customers might wish to take a moment to Google “aetna health insurance complaints”. As an aside, if you’re going to insure regardless of risk (pre-existing conditions, a male getting pregnant, a female getting prostate cancer, etc.), the size of the risk pool must be maximized to contain costs. The way to do so, while also eliminating the overhead and profit of innumerable private insurance companies, is Medicare for all. Let me hasten to add the usual disclaimer that insurance doesn’t deliver care, just pays for it.

  • Gene

    Nothing could be sweeter than the nation’s health care system fixed by … Walmart! The gnashing of teeth and rending of garments by many people I know would be utterly delicious.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Aetna ain’t noted for being the best buy in town, is it? For heavens sake, it’s for-profit, when not-for-profit choices exist. Walmart may sell some, but the notion that this is a replacement for public exchanges???? Sounds crazy to me.

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