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Why go to the doctor when you can go to Walmart?

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind

Why go to the doctor when you can head to your local Walmart (WMT)?

Walmart is expanding its medical services beyond the pharmacy and into primary care service. The big-box retailer has already opened six health clinics in Texas and South Carolina and plans on opening another six before the year ends. Nurse practitioners will staff the clinics and a walk-in visit will cost only $40 ($4 for Walmart employees).

The Affordable Care Act is allowing previously uninsured Americans access to preventative and primary care for the first time and Walmart certainly stands to gain from that.

“Walmart isn’t just looking at this as money from The Affordable Care Act…they know you’re going to spend money on pharmaceuticals, on medicines and whatever you might need to treat the diseases that you’re being identified with at the Walmart,” says Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task.

In other health-related news, FICO, a major credit score company, has announced that it will no longer weigh medical debt as heavily as it has in the past. Nearly one half of all American debt is medical. This news likely means higher credit scores for millions of Americans.

“Your FICO score determines so much of your financial life,” says Task.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a study in May showing that those with outstanding medical debt are often overly penalized by credit agencies.

“Hopefully this is a benefit to consumers and not just an incentive to go out and borrow more money and get into another debt binge,” says Task.

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