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Walgreen partners with GoHealth for health insurance comparison shopping

In an attempt to address the uncertainty surrounding health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act, Walgreen Co. said today it is partnering with Chicago-based GoHealth to help customers understand the new insurance marketplaces.

The pharmacy chain will refer customers in its 8,500 stores and via its website to GoHealth Marketplace, an online resource where they can compare and purchase health plans much the way people buy airline tickets on Orbitz.

“We know people will have a lot of questions and many may feel overwhelmed,” Brad Fluegel, Walgreen's chief strategy officer, said in a statement. “This collaboration furthers our ongoing efforts to help those who may be entering the marketplace to be better prepared and make informed choices."

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study cited by Walgreen, 51% of Americans say they don't understand how the Affordable Care Act will affect them, and 62% of uninsured people say they don't have enough information about the new law.

GoHealth, founded in Lincoln Park in 2001 by two recent college graduates, is today a $50 million-plus health technology firm that allows consumers to compare thousands of combinations of health care plans. The company is looking to capitalize on the Affordable Care Act's mandate that everyone in the country be enrolled in an insurance plan by Dec. 15 or face fines. The health exchanges officially opened for business earlier this week, on Oct. 1.

GoHealth is expanding rapidly, taking 90,000 square feet in the Merchandise Mart and planning to more than double its workforce to more than 1,000 people by year-end. Last summer, the company received a $50 million equity investment from Minneapolis-based Norwest Equity Partners.

Customers can seek one-on-one help from licensed GoHealth advisers who guide them through the selection and enrollment process, either over the phone or online.

GoHealth makes its money by collecting fees from insurance agents for customer referrals, buying and reselling customer leads and building software for brokers, insurance carriers and other health care organizations.

Walgreen partners with GoHealth for health insurance comparison shopping originally appeared on the Crain's Chicago Business website.



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