Costco Wholesale Corp. is teaming with Aetna Inc. to expand sales of health insurance through an insurance distribution unit, Costco Insurance Agency Inc.
Costco, Issaquah, Wash. (Nasdaq:COST), will start by marketing individual health insurance from Aetna, Hartford (NYSE:AET), in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
Costco Insurance Agency hopes to begin selling Aetna coverage in other states later this year, Aetna says.
The agency has been selling individually underwritten "executive" health insurance in California since 2005. The company has been selling small business health plans for many years, and it now offers small group coverage in Hawaii, Oregon and Washington state as well as in California. It began working with Aetna to offer Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in 2008.
The new Costco Personal Health Insurance program offers a menu of 5 major medical plans and several dental insurance options. Consumers who buy the Aetna coverage through Costco will get extra discounts when they buy prescriptions through Costco pharmacies, Aetna says.
Costco Insurance Agency is providing quotes through a toll-free telephone number.
Costco runs a "wholesale discount club" with 434 warehouse-like stories in the United States and Puerto Rico.
In addition to insurance, Costco has been selling services such as 401(k) plan services and payroll services. The company does not include separate insurance sales figures in its monthly sales reports or quarterly or annual financial statements.
Another discount club company, Sam's Club, an affiliate of Walmart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark., sells a $99 package of health screening and wellness coaching services from U.S. Preventive Medicine Inc., Jacksonville, Fla.
BJ's Wholesale Club Inc., Westborough, Mass., has added health insurance to the list of services it offers through the Web by providing a click-through link to eHealthInsurance.com, a Web-based health insurance brokerage firm operated by eHealth Inc., Mountain View, Calif. (Nasdaq:EHTH).