A Glimpse at Healthcare’s Retail Future

SEP 25

The intersection of healthcare and retail is rapidly moving off the white board and onto Main Street as evidenced by the recent rebranding of retailer CVS to ‘CVS Health’, and a few other retail strategies starting to emerge.

One such example is Florida Blue (fka Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida) and what might be described as one of the boldest retail moves by a health insurer to date.  While we’re in the early innings of the retail-ization of healthcare, in parallel we’re seeing the healthcare-ization of retail.

Florida Blue has 18 retail centers that provide Sales, Service and Care – standalone 5,000 square foot locations, and much smaller locations inside a few WalMart stores.  Here is what I’ve learned about their model:

  • Sales:  On site brokers use a special portal to help consumers navigate Florida Blue’s products (including products on insurance exchanges)
  • Care:  Presently, nurses at Florida Blue locations can consult with consumers to identify gaps in care and immediately schedule appointments to close gaps.  In addition, they are providing more comprehensive primary care at two locations.
  • Tools:  At the Florida Blue retail locations, members can fill out online health risk assessments.
  • Employers and Small Groups:  Covered employers can send employees to the retail centers for a ‘near worksite’ experience.
  • CVS Partnership:  CVS is deploying pharmacists to Florida Blue locations and offering flu shots.

The intersection of retail and healthcare could be likened to the 1970′s TV ad for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; where an unsuspecting peanut butter consumer while toting an open jar, accidentally bumps into an unsuspecting consumer holding an unwrapped chocolate candy bar – the accidental collision of two products creates an interesting outcome.


Even though the retail end game in healthcare isn’t yet clear and today’s partners could become tomorrow’s competitors, we think the win/win potential for these alliances is highly compelling.

How will the turf battles to win over the healthcare consumer be waged?

Should retailers, insurers, payment card companies, health delivery systems OR lifestyle and fitness companies take the lead?

Who else is missing from the equation?

Let us know what you think.

Charles Boorady
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