Self-insurer Walmart flies its sick employees to out-of-state specialists to avoid local price-gougers

Walmart self-insures its workforce, rather than relying on an outside insurer like Cigna or Blue Cross; this means that it gets to make judgment calls that other firms cannot, and that has led the retail giant to a pretty weird place: for certain procedures that it believes to be overused by local hospitals, it flies its employees (even front-line, low-waged employees) to see the nation’s top specialists in out-of-state facilities where they receive “concierge, white-glove care that was reserved at other companies only for highly paid executives.”

Walmart has written up the results of its program in an HBR case-study that details the company’s mandatory policy that its employees be treated for spinal issues, cancer diagnoses and heart surgeries at the Mayo Clinic and others, including Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Medical Center.

American hospitals are notorious for opaque billing practices and rampant price-gouging, a phenomenon that is only exacerbated

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