BUSINESS: ICYMI Sam’s Club Testing Health Care Discount Program With Optical Component By Staff Thursday, October 3, 2019 8:09 AM BENTONVILLE, Ark.—Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart, is planning to test a discount health program in three states that includes a vision care and eyewear component, according to a post on the retailer’s blog late last week. The new program is called, “Sam’s Club Care Accelerator” and it was developed in cooperation with Humana and other health care entities as a way to provide “access to affordable options with transparent pricing on everyday health care services,” according to the post. All four of the “coverage” options in the Care Accelerator program include a provision for a $60 eye exam and a 20 percent discount on eyewear purchased at Sam’s, the post noted. The company’s plan is to initially test the program beginning this month in Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, with the potential to expand to all members in the future.Sam’s Club Care Accelerator was developed in cooperation with Humana and other health care entities as a way to provide “access to affordable options with transparent pricing on everyday health care services,” according to the post.Sam’s noted that it will be one of the first retailers to attempt a program that may significantly lower out-of-pocket health care costs. Other health care businesses participating in the test are 98point6 (which delivers on-demand diagnosis and treatment from board-certified physicians via secure in-app messaging) and Quest Diagnostics.“Sam’s Club has always been more than just a retailer,” Lori Flees, Sam’s senior vice president of health and wellness, wrote in the post. “For years our members have enjoyed a curated assortment of products and services designed to deliver value in unexpected ways. At the same time, we’re a trusted provider of health and wellness services through our pharmacies [which rank high in customer satisfaction in the annual J.D. Power U.S. Pharmacy Study]." The Care Accelerator is designed to solve cost problems, especially for small business owners or those with high-deductible health plans, through a series of bundled health care services, the post said. Participating members can save money on common health care services, including primary care, optical, dental and alternative medicine, according to Sam’s.Here’s how it works, according to the post:Sam’s members in participating states can choose from one of four “coverage” bundles ranging from $50 to $240 per year. Each bundle includes the vision care discounts along with free prescriptions on certain generic medications. The number of generics available ranges from 5 to 20 of the most popular medications, depending on the bundle selected, according to the Sam’s post.The bundles offer opportunities to save on vision exams and optical products, as well as dental services through Humana and unlimited telehealth for only $1 per visit through 98point6. The family bundle, at $240 per year, covers up to six family members and also includes access to a preventive health screening from Quest Diagnostics that measures key health indicators for early detection of heart disease and diabetes.All four bundles include prepaid health debit cards to be used within the health services network of $5, $40 and $100, respectively, effectively lowering the total investment to $45, $60 or $140, depending on the bundle selected.