Health insurance startup Alignment Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance have signed an agreement to jointly market Medicare Advantage plans for 2024.
The Medicare Advantage insurer and retail giant have agreed to offer $0 premium co-branded plans in some counties in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, pending regulatory approvals. They said the effort will reach 1.6 million Medicare-eligible enrollees.
Members who sign up for a co-branded plan can use their over-the-counter supplemental benefits at Walgreens stores or online and will have a $0 copay for more than 10,000 prescription drugs at Walgreens pharmacies, according to a news release. The companies did not specify the co-branded plans’ medical benefits.
Walgreens and Alignment Health did not immediately respond to interview requests.
The Alignment partnership is not the retailer’s first foray into the $454 billion Medicare Advantage market. Walgreens in 2019 partnered with UnitedHealth Group subsidiary UnitedHealthcare and AARP to jointly market a private Medicare product. The company’s strategy of providing healthcare services for insurance companies and risk-bearing clinicians mirrors that of UnitedHealth Group’s Optum, Elevance Health’s Carelon or Cigna Group’s Evernorth.
The retailer last week announced it named Evernorth founder and former Chief Executive Officer Tim Wentworth as its new CEO. The same week, Walgreens launched a $1 billion cost-cutting plan focused on consolidating its retail pharmacy locations and expanding some of its healthcare services offerings. It also debuted a new virtual care service, which it aims to sell to health insurers.
Walgreens last month inked an agreement with physician enablement company Pearl Health. Walgreens said it intends to sell Pearl's services to physicians interested in assuming patient risk.
At the start of the year, Walgreens finalized its $8.9 billion acquisition of Summit Health-CityMD, a primary, specialty and urgent care provider.
Last year, Walgreens announced plans to spend another $392 million to wholly own CareCentrix, a home health company.
Walgreens in late 2021 partnered with Cigna and invested $5.2 billion to take a majority stake in Chicago-based primary care provider VillageMD, which specializes in value-based care for commercial enrollees. Around the same time, Walgreens agreed to spend $970 million to take a majority stake in specialty pharmacy company Shields Health Solutions.