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UnitedHealth's MedExpress purchase could bring hybrid model to retail medicine

Expanded retail model will come with unique options for members

Looking to bring its consumer-focused business into the $15 billion convenient care market, UnitedHealth's Optum unit has purchased MedExpress, a national retail clinic chain with 140 locations across 11 states, for an undisclosed amount, reported Healthcare Finance.

"MedExpress has set the highest standards of care quality, convenience and compassion for patients in the communities it serves," Optum CEO Larry Renfro told Healthcare Finance. He said Optum will be "expanding this progressive and successful approach."

UnitedHealth is already capitalizing on the fact that retail is a "significant portion of individuals' lives" by creating retail partnerships to help consumers access all aspects of the insurance industry, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

In fact, Optum already has nine operating clinics, most of which are located in retail settings near grocery stores or mini-malls in three states, which provide innovative offerings for consumers.

In addition to routine care provided by retail clinics, Optum's chain offers unique membership options for consumers, including paying $19 a year for unlimited blood pressure checks, immunization screenings, annual skin checks and hearing tests. It also provides cosmetic services, such as wrinkle relaxers, chemical peels and microdermabrasion.

With the buyout of MedExpress, UnitedHealth can "integrate Optum care management and clinical programs with MedExpress' services, simplifying patient access to health resources and treatment options in their community," the company said, noted Healthcare Finance.

Most likely, UnitedHealth is looking to bring its hybrid retail care model to a bigger scale throughout the country. It also would help differentiate its own retail clinics from competitors such as CVS, Wal-Mart and Walgreens.

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare Finance article

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