Walmart. The big-box store that competes directly with local businesses may be competing with local doctors, dentists, and even counselors at their new Walmart Health centers
Walmart offers a variety of services for local consumers in almost every major city: groceries, supplies, oil changes, photo printing, money orders/transfers, haircuts, and now they're getting into the medical and dental industry. Unlike most traditional medical or dental offices, Walmart will clearly list the prices for their medical and dental cleaning services right where you walk in. No more surprise bills from your healthcare providers. Need to talk to a counselor? That'll be $1 a minute. No insurance? No problem.
Imagine being able to drop off your car for an oil change while you get some groceries and see a doctor for a prescription.
Americans in the United States spend about $3.6 trillion dollars a year on medical services and it looks like Walmart wants to get a piece of that. As of now, Walmart hasn't announced how many clinics it plans to open across the country to serve their 150 million customers each week, but based on the amount of Walmart locations with optometry services in their stores, there's a good chance that "many" will be opened. Paperwork will probably be at a minimal at these clinics since customers don't need insurance to cover the services rendered; in many cases, cheaper than most co-pays.
There are currently only a handful of Walmart Health locations across the United States. But if there's enough demand for these clinics... there's a good chance we'll be seeing more of these pop up in your local cities.
Photo: The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart's sign hangs above one of its soon to be opened locations September 21, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. Wal-Mart announced today they plan on reducing prices for nearly 300 generic prescription drugs, starting the program in the Tampa Bay, Florida area. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)