By Clark Howard, ClarkHoward.com
OCTOBER 8, 2014 – Are you shopping for health insurance on your own and feeling confused about your options in the marketplace? A solution is coming for you from Walmart!
In the next week, the nation’s largest retailer is launching a health insurance buying service in 2,700 of its stores. The initiative is being called ‘Healthcare Begins Here.’ They’re actually contracting with a third party called DirectHealth.com to help you do the shopping.
Of course, Walmart is not itself getting into the health insurance business, nor are they earning any commissions. They’re just doing this to get bodies in their stores and to fill a gap in the marketplace because many people are confused about the new health care options.
What the new Walmart/DirectHealth partnership offers
With our busy lives, it’s very difficult to make a good choice about health insurance.
You probably know that health care plans are now sold by color: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. But in each category, the plans can vary enormously. Generally, the higher the out of pocket, the lower the premium. Yet it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes you’ll find a silver plan for cheaper than bronze.
See my guide to Obamacare / Affordable Care Act for info about the new health care law without the political spin.
I know this stuff can be overwhelming. So being able to sit down in Walmart store and make a choice is a good idea, I think.
Here’s exactly what Walmart and DirectHealth will be offering, as explained in a press release:
For customers over 65:
- DirectHealth.com offers access to more than 1,700 plans from 12 leading carriers including Aetna, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
- Customers can compare and enroll in health plans online at DirectHealth.com or over the phone at 888-383-2111.
- 2,700 Walmart stores will be staffed by independent, licensed health insurance agents from DirectHealth.com that can help customers enroll in certain health insurance plans. Agents can also help provide education and guidance on other insurance options.
- Enrollment can take place during the Medicare open enrollment period from Oct. 15, 2014 through Dec. 7, 2014.
For customers under 65:
- DirectHealth.com offers access to thousands of Health Exchange plans from more than 300 leading carriers.
- Customers can compare and enroll in health plans online at DirectHealth.com or over the phone at 888-327-0388.
- 2,700 Walmart stores will be staffed by independent, licensed agents from DirectHealth.com who can help provide education and guidance about health insurance options.
- The Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period takes place from Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015.