Walgreen to send employees to a health exchange
It says the 'marketplace solution' will give its 160,000 eligible workers more choices at lower costs.
Updated 8:30 a.m. ET, Sept. 19
Faced with rising health care costs, Walgreen (WAG) has become the latest big employer to send its workers to a private health care exchange, similar to those created by the Affordable Care Act. These shifts away from traditional employer-provided health care plans underscore the sea change President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement is generating.
According to The Wall Street Journal, starting next year the country's top drugstore operator will pay a fixed amount for employees to purchase coverage from a suite of as many as 25 plans offered through a private insurance exchange run by Aon Hewitt.
The Deerfield, Ill., company, which will continue to offer prescription benefits for employees, says the move will provide its 160,000 eligible workers more choices at lower costs. Its contribution for health care benefits next year is expected to be at the same level as this year.
"We will continue to invest in the health of our employees and their dependents while using a marketplace solution that offers a wide variety of plan options that meet the affordability standard of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," said Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, Walgreen's senior vice president and chief human resources officer, in a press release.
IBM (IBM) and Time Warner (TWX) both recently announced plans to move their retirees to
exchanges. More such moves are likely to come. Survey data from Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health cited by The Journal found that 24% of employers said they were "likely" to provide access to health care exchanges over the next five years.
The announcement from Walgreen, which operates 8,117 drugstores in 50 states, comes as Congress debates -- yet again -- whether to defund Obamacare. House Republicans on Wednesday decided to allow Tea Party backers to have a vote on the issue this week even though Democrats have warned that it could lead to a government shutdown. Sign-ups for the exchanges are due to begin Oct. 1.
Even fans of the president such as the AFL-CIO have issues with Obamacare, which the labor organization recently called "highly disruptive" to union health care plans. Critics of the overhaul like the conservative Heritage Foundation seem to think a repeal victory is within their grasp. The think tank's Ron Bluey noted in a blog post on Wednesday that the movement to stop the controversial law had reached a "critical moment."
"We may not all agree on the solution for America's health care system, but an increasing number of Americans agree that Obamacare is the wrong prescription," he writes.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr and at jonathanberr.com.
Note: This story was updated to correct an earlier characterization of the Aon Hewitt health exchange as one created by the Affordable Care Act.
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We've doubled the amount of people dependent on the gov for food stamps. We've doubled the amount of people dependent on the gov for disability payments. And now we're going to double the number of people dependent on the gov for health insurance. And all of this has happened in the last 5 years.
Another failure for the un-Affordable Care Act. A great healthcare plan is trashed and the employees get money to buy it on their own. Only the sick ones will do so and the healthy ones will pocket the cash.
This will further kill the plan as none of the young--non users- will enroll.
This is the worst bill ever by the worst president ever.
Now if Congress will only defund the Affordable Care Act maybe we can get rid of this expansion of government into socialism. If more companies follow suit maybe buying of health insurance will return to a personal responsibility. It is just insurance, no different than automobile insurance or home insurance. If we would eliminate the provisions of Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act and it's cost shifting effects the costs to people who actually pay for their medical care would decrease.
Health insurance is a personal responsibility which currently being used as another mechanism for the redistribution of wealth by a socialistic leaning centralized federal government.
It would have been so much easier if the federal government would have worked with the states to remove limits for competition for health insurance. Instead of that they actually raised the cost per individual to include a multiplier per person per family. For years the health care cost of covering the family was not 6k per person, it was 1-2k per person. How can a family of 4 pay 24k in health care coverage with a house hold income of 50-60k? The only thing that is good is coverage for children up to 25 years of age. Even that has had an affect on what colleges can offer. They used to be able to have a limited health care plan that they could charge $30.00 per month for. Now that it is $150.00 or more if they even offer it any longer.
Also instead of putting limits on things that have caused price increases, they have put taxes on those suppliers to increase those costs even more. They have also given medical companies reasons to farm research and medical equipment manufacturing overseas.
So another loss for the American worker.
Giving more tax credits is once again going to cause the tax rate to go up.
another loss for us the tax payers..
Can someone explain to me,about the cadillac health insurance policies being taxed in 2018.Does that mean individuals, the company, or both.
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A basic income policy can actually ensure a decent standard of living for everyone.
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