Costco Helps Bring Down High Cost of Healthcare
By George Anderson
Patrick Callins, vice president of member services for Costco, said the warehouse club leader isn’t looking “to be everything to everybody.”
What it is looking for, he told the San Diego Union-Tribune, are “programs where we can help people save some money.”
One area where Costco discovered it could help its business members save money is healthcare insurance. The company has been offering programs to business members at a savings up to 20 percent below what it would cost them to purchase on their own. It plans to begin offering plans for individuals, as well.
Martyn Hopper, the California state director of The National Federation of Independent Business, told the Union-Tribune, “It (health insurance) is the No. 1 concern of small-business owners.”
Costco’s warehouse club rival, Sam’s Club, began offering a program to members to lower the cost of healthcare services not covered under many insurance policies, such as cosmetic dentistry and vision services.
According to Sam’s, the program was a hit with members as it became one of the top five services sold by Wal-Mart’s warehouse club division.
Moderator’s Comment: Should the retail industry, led perhaps by the associations or company leaders, look to develop a cooperative approach to obtaining
healthcare insurance so that people working in the industry would have adequate medical coverage while associated costs are reduced for employers and employees? Are there models
in other areas of procurement that would be helpful in this? –
George Anderson – Moderator