Health insurers and community pharmacies are making a play for primary care

As younger Americans spurn primary care under the same physician in favor of services that are convenient at the moment, PBMs and pharmacies are stepping up to meet their needs.

As younger Americans spurn primary care under the same physician in favor of services that are convenient at the moment, PBMs and pharmacies are stepping up to meet their needs. CVS Health, Humana, Walgreens, Walmart, and UnitedHealth Group already operate hundreds of clinics that bill themselves as primary care providers or provide a majority of primary care services, with plans to open additional locations this year. "Given all the new market entrants, there is an emerging fight for the front door that can dramatically affect the overall business of health care systems and help the move to drive care out of hospitals," notes Lisa Suennen, head of Manatt's venture capital practice. Many are getting in the "fight" by opening primary care practices in or next to pharmacies while others—such as Walgreens—have adopted a partnership model. Others, including insurer Anthem, are bucking the trend altogether, preferring to keep primary care independent of their own operations.