- Sam's Club, Walmart's retail warehouse buying club, is partnering with app-based telehealth vendor 98point6 to sell a subscription plan to Sam's Club customers following a successful yearlong pilot.
- The price tag for a quarterly subscription starts initially at $20 for the first three months, compared to 98point6's regular price of $30. The subscription includes $1 virtual visits, along with the ability to text physicians, order prescriptions and labs from a smartphone. After the first three months, members would pay $33.50 every three months. 98point6's annual fee is $120, so the Sam's Club membership is actually slightly more expensive for a full year. In the subsequent year not including the intro deal, the Sam's Club price will be $14 more.
- Sam's Club said its membership is more expensive due to the option of buying quarterly subscriptions instead of one annual one. Additionally, Sam's Club members will also have access to pediatric care, which isn't available with 98point6's director-to-consumer option.
Selling telehealth plans was something Sam's Club was thinking about prior to the pandemic, but COVID-19 accelerated rollout plans, according to John McDowell, VP of pharmacy operations and divisional merchandise.
The 600 membership warehouses in the U.S. decided to invest more deeply in virtual care following the success of the 98point6 pilot launched in September last year. The pilot, also in partnership with Humana, offers four bundled healthcare service packages for its members, ranging from $50 to $240 per year depending on services offered.
The program is still active in the three states it launched in: North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Sam's Club picked Seattle-based 98point6 over other vendors because it liked the subscription options and the ability for members to text their doctor, a spokesperson said. At the $1 video visits, doctors can diagnose and treat about 400 common conditions, including the flu and seasonal allergies, and monitor chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease and behavioral health conditions like depression and anxiety.
Like other vendors, five-year-old 98point6 has grown in leaps and bounds amid COVID-19. The app-based company, which sells subscriptions direct to consumer and to employers and plans for their members, inked some major deals with Boeing, Chipotle, convenience store chain Circle K and daycare operator KinderCare in April, to cover their 500,000 combined employees.
98point6 quadrupled its physician headcount to meet rising consumer demand that same month after raising $43 million in venture funding. The round brought its total funding to about $130 million.
Sam's Club's parent Walmart has rolled out a number of programs to try to lower healthcare costs for the 1 million workers and their families in the U.S. on its medical benefits.
The Arkansas-based retail giant launched a program last year to nudge workers toward lower-cost, higher-quality physicians and has a virtual care program in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin that includes preventive health, chronic care management, urgent care and behavioral health. That program is with telehealth provider Doctor on Demand and health tech players Grand Rounds and HealthSCOPE Benefits and includes physician video visits for $4.