Wal-Mart is taking one-stop shopping to another area: health insurance.
The world's largest retailer plans to work with DirectHealth.com, an online health insurance comparison site and agency, to allow shoppers to compare coverage options and enroll in Medicare plans or the public exchange plans created under the Affordable Care Act.
The strategy is another step into insurance marketing as the retailer tries to use its mammoth size to expand beyond food and other basics at a time of sluggish traffic and sales. It also could help Wal-Mart compete with drugstore chains such as Walgreen and CVS, which are rapidly adding health care services.
Customers can enroll online, by phone or at 2,700 of Wal-Mart's more than 4,000 stores, starting Oct. 10. The stores will be staffed with independent insurance agents from DirectHealth.com.
In April, Wal-Mart teamed up with Autoinsurance.com to let shoppers quickly find and buy auto insurance policies online.
Wal-Mart won't receive commissions and hopes to benefit partly by luring customers into stores.