Retail medical clinics are gaining popularity across the country. The concept popped up years ago when eye care providers like LensCrafters started appearing in shopping malls. Consumers quickly began to see the credibility, convenience and affordability in solving eye care needs in a retail setting. Soon, insurance companies came on board to make the experience even more worthwhile.
About 10 years ago, the concept crossed over to general medical care in places like pharmacies, grocery stores and even big-box stores. Walgreens’ Take Care Clinic is just one example. In 2009, Americans made over 6 million visits to retail clinics!
Retail health care clinics are well known for treating acute conditions like bronchitis, sore throats and the flu. They also make it easy for folks to address preventive care measures like blood tests for proactive screening, vaccines to ward off common illnesses, and other routine procedures as well. The cost of service can be a fraction of what you’d pay to see a medical doctor at a private practice.
Your Medicare benefits can be used in retail settings such as Walgreens. The company’s vast number of retail stores offers Medicare Wellness Visits that include consultations with board-certified nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants on disease prevention counseling and vision care as well. Visit http://www.walgreens.com/topic/scheduler/medicare-wellness-visits_55.jsp.
The primary reason that these clinics have become so popular is convenience. Retail health clinics offer availability day and night with no appointment needed. In addition, patients experience low (or no) wait times, which makes the process very easy.
If you are sick, you can simply go to the clinic of your choice, get checked out by a licensed nurse practitioner and receive proper treatment for your illness. I believe because of this convenience, seniors are one of the fastest-growing segments of the population who use retail care clinics.
As a result of Obamacare, experts are anticipating continued growth in the use of care clinics. With the expansion of preventive care benefits as well as the anticipated doctor shortage resulting from health care reform, retail clinics offer ease and convenience over long waits for conventional appointments in a doctor’s office setting. Learn more at
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.