Healthcare Business News

Walgreens, Blues team up on exchange campaign

By Rachel Landen
Posted: July 10, 2013 - 2:00 pm ET

Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain, is teaming up with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association on a national campaign to educate the public about new state health insurance exchanges and opportunities to sign up for expanded coverage starting Oct. 1.

Through, a website launched by the two organizations, consumers have access to information about eligibility, enrollment and benefits under the new healthcare reform law. And nearly all of the more than 8,000 Walgreens stores across the country will include informational brochures and signs to promote the new insurance exchanges. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association has member health plans in 38 states.

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“The Affordable Care Act will expand access to health insurance for millions of Americans and broaden health benefits, but many Americans have had little experience purchasing health coverage and are confused about what the law means to them,” Maureen Sullivan, BCBSA senior vice president of strategic services and chief strategy officer, said in a release. “Our partnership with Walgreens is another example of our commitment to ensuring that all Americans have the tools they need to understand these changes and access affordable health insurance coverage that meets their needs.”

The Obama administration is trying to get prominent private organizations across the country, including professional sports teams and leagues, to participate in the public education campaign around the healthcare reform law. Health insurers are particularly interested in getting the word out to ensure that a large number of healthy younger Americans who currently are uninsured sign up for coverage, to balance out the costs of covering the older, sicker people who are expected to enroll.

According to a poll conducted in April by the not-for-profit Kaiser Family Foundation, 49% of Americans surveyed said they don't have enough information about the ACA to understand the impact it will have on their family. That percentage rises to 58% among the uninsured.

“There's a lot of confusion, a lot of questions and it'll take a tremendous, collaborative effort to make sure people have the information they need to make informed choices,” Brad Fluegel, Walgreens senior vice president and chief strategy officer, said in the release.

HHS has launched a website, hotline and online chat feature to help people learn about the ACA before open enrollment in the exchanges begins Oct. 1.

Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden

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