Sharecare, Georgia, Walmart team up on state employee benefits, health incentives

State employees who earn "green days" on Sharecare's platform can earn up to $225 per year in Walmart gift cards.
By Jonah Comstock
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The state of Georgia has tapped digital health engagement platform Sharecare and retailer Walmart in a new initiative to improve the health of the employees on its State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP). The deal was announced last week.

“We put out a press release with the governor of Georgia and the commissioner of health where they said ‘We’ll pay 90 million dollars next year for people who earn green days from Sharecare for our state employees, which is made up of 200,000 teachers [and DFCS workers and state patrolmen],” Sharecare CEO Jeff Arnold told MobiHealthNews in an interview last week in San Francisco. “And Walmart will match 50 cents on the dollar if you spend that money on healthy choices.”

“Green days” are days in which a participant in Sharecare’s program meets certain personalized health goals tracked within the Sharecare app. SHBP members have had the opportunity to sign up for Sharecare for the last year. Starting January 1 2019, members who complete Sharecare’s RealAge assessment and a certain number of screenings, challenges and calls with health coaches can earn $150 from the state and an additional $75 from Walmart to spend on prescription medications and vision services.

The program also includes the families of eligible state workers, which is how the total spend from the state adds up to about $90 million.

What’s the impact

Sharecare’s ambitious goal is to become the consumer’s primary, or only, health app.

“If we look five years out, I have a belief that we’re not going to have rows of apps on a phone, we’ll have five platforms,” Arnold said. “A money platform that talks to Amazon and Bank of America, an entertainment platform that talks to news and Netflix, you’re going to have a time management platform that talks to Uber and Delta, a relationships platform that talks to social and your contacts, and you’re going to have a health platform. We want that health platform to be Sharecare.”

The company has been building up their platform via acquisitions and R&D to offer as comprehensive a platform as possible, and working with an ever-expanding roster of employers and payers to get into the hands of consumers free of charge.

This deal is not only a new payer customer for Sharecare, but also a way of expanding that platform out of the digital realm.

“You can only do so much in your phone and this is actually taking the digital experience into a person’s shopping experience,” Sharecare President Dawn Whaley told MobiHealthNews.

What’s the trend?

This is just the latest example of Sharecare moving into the retail world. This past weekend, the company participated in a “Walmart wellness day” where Walmart employees and customers had the opportunity to get free health screenings.

These initiatives also address some of the costs of care for consumers, as did a recent deal Sharecare announced with CVS.

“What we’re hearing from our clients and users are medication prices are part of the adherence problem,” Arnold said. “People can’t afford their drugs. So we went to Caremark and said ‘Can you build us out a formulary with the best pharmacy discounts that we can offer our users? And then at the same time we can work with fully-funded plans.’ So that’s another big Sharecare partnership.”