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Walgreens will sell health insurance

So says a news report. As a result of health care reform, plenty of companies that don't sell insurance plan to start.

By Karen Datko Aug 10, 2011 7:52PM

Walgreens is getting into the business of health insurance, according to a news report, and it's just the start. Many companies want a piece of a multibillion-dollar opportunity: selling health insurance on private exchanges before the public exchanges mandated by health care reform are up and running in 2014.


In fact, Walgreens, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, plans to start selling insurance on a private exchange this fall, CNNMoney said, citing sources. A company spokesman wouldn't confirm those plans.


Looks like the millions of uninsured and underinsured -- long ignored and unwanted by the health care industry -- will have plenty of choices to buy individual coverage. Why? Because all kinds of companies have figured out there's a way to make money in this.


CNNMoney said, "Retailers, financial services providers and a large payroll processer are among firms that are actively looking into starting private health insurance exchanges that are separate from public exchanges."


What will these private exchanges be like? Emily P. Walker wrote at MedPage Today, "An example of a private health insurance exchange that is already up and running is the company eHealthInsurance, which offers more than 10,000 insurance products online through partnerships with 180 health insurance companies." Post continues after video.

Here's what to keep in mind as these private exchanges begin to appear:


People who buy insurance on private exchanges won't be eligible for subsidies that will make insurance on the public exchanges affordable to just about everyone.


So how could they compete in price? They'll likely offer a wide range of health insurance policies, and some, speculates "zenbassoon" at Daily Kos, won't be very good. Special policies like so-called cancer insurance should be avoided.


Also, insurance sold on the public exchanges must meet certain standards of coverage. Not necessarily so with products sold on private exchanges, zenbassoon says. Again, the buyer should beware.


Chris Hoffman, chief marketing officer of investment banking firm TripleTree, told CNNMoney that the companies might compete by offering loyalty programs or bundling health insurance with other policies (e.g., when you get a break for buying car and homeowners insurance from the same company).


Another thing to keep in mind: Federal law won't prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions until 2014. (A federal- and state-sponsored program is in place to help out some of those folks right now.)


Selling health insurance seems like a logical move for Walgreens, which, along with CVS and Wal-Mart, has medical clinics in some of its stores. Will you be interested in buying if the news report is correct?


More on MSN Money:

Aug 11, 2011 6:14AM
There's the secret.... THEY FOUND A WAY TO MAKE MONEY OFF IT!   Surprised? 
Aug 11, 2011 7:30AM

Just what consumers "NEED".....more companies getting into a business THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT and that will FOLD when they see its more expensive and more complex than they thought......leaving people UNINSURED.....the whole POINT to begin with ?


We already have someone "IN CHARGE" that knows NOTHING about health care....its called "THE GOVERNMENT" .......

Aug 11, 2011 2:41PM
The US must have the most irritating least cost effective health care system in the world. What kind of flim-flam scheme are we creating when we will have private and public health care insurance. The private policies will have specific coverage like just cancer, and let me guess if you do get cancer the policy will only cover just specific oncology procedures, or some other loop hole. If you want coverage for the cost of anesthesia you should have purchased a general policy? The private coverage will most likely be marketed on TV just like auto extended warranty coverage, lots of hype and little substance.

I was in favor of health care reform, but not any where like this corporate insurance company driven monstrosity. The whole thing was lobbied by the corporate insurance giants to force people to buy insurance instead of being able to buy coverage we would voluntarily want. The one thing we needed was an affordable public option that would make the giant insurance companies honest. That scared the he** out of the CEO's and they used FUD ( fear, uncertainty and doubt made famous by MicroSoft marketing) to change reform into a system that forces people to buy their product. The corporations just can't seem to be brought under control.

Aug 11, 2011 8:13AM
The health care industry is one of the biggest rip off industries in America........... second only to .... you guessed it, the health insurance industry, which includes dental insurance.  Beware of Walgreens and any other company that tries to control and do it all!
Aug 11, 2011 8:43AM
Can you see it?

Aug 11, 2011 8:47AM
DETECTIVE KIMBLE: WHAT PLANET do you live on???? MEDICARE AND VA ARE THE MOST INEFFICIENTLY RUN! LMAO!  THERE IS SO MUCH FRAUD AND BUREAUCRATIC  BS GOING ON IN BOTH THOSE GOV'T CONTROLLED have to be absolutely clueless to believe they area efficiently run!  EVERYTHING the gov't runs....runs it in the red! post office? am trak?  medicare? medicaid? social security?  I'M SURE NO one complains when they go to Walmart/CVS/ OR Walgreens and purchases their Rx(s) for 4 dollars for a 30 day supply! WAKE UP!
Aug 11, 2011 12:34PM
As  a consumer, remember they have the data at Walgreens and the data selling business there is worth just under $800 M.

You can see where they already work with United on predicting what chronic illnesses you might get as well and underwriters have used your prescription records for years to determine policy premiums so when they sell insurance be ready for the risk assessment policy to be offered.  As consumers we may have to really look to make sure the policy is in our best interest and not just one that offers lower exposure for the insurer, as this is a "for profit" business model here.  It's all about the math. 

Aug 11, 2011 12:47PM
tjkhjk, it seems u need to look into ur facts a little more as the U.S. post office is not a gov't run program they are an entity upon themselves that can make a profit. If u have been reading all the articles about what is happening with the post office u would know that they do have to follow the gov't retirement program which is a B.S. move by congress. And having to deal with Walgreens they seem to be a more caring company and were able to get me in touch with a grp that would help me with a medication that costs $4k a month, the true robbers are the pharmaceutical companies.
Feb 19, 2012 5:04PM
I hear everybody saying that government run health insurance will make health care worse than it is now comming from people that HAVE,and CAN AFFORD IT,or they have a JOB and the company they work for PAY'S for it. I don't have any health Ins. When I have to go to the Dr. I pay for it out of my pocket! I think one thing driving up the cost is insurance it self. Some of my friends are going without food to pay for insurances,so since they have it, if they stub their toe they go to the emergency room,if the cough twice they go to the emergency room,if they standup too fast and get lightheaded you guessed it! I go to the doctor twice a year,because I have high blood pressure! Because of the a.m.a. I have to go even though I have a high dollar blood pressure tester and test it regularly I say this because of prescription medicene.Even though I'm not sick when i go to get my meds refilled the chance of me getting sick is there because the waiting room is full of SICK people.Her's my thought's UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE FOR ALL,funded by a certain amount taken out of your incometax return and if you don't get sick or chose not to use the EMERGENCY room for anything except an EMERGENCY it will be reduced yearly.We have an agency for everything else why not health?
Aug 11, 2011 8:34AM
redtractortom must be a clairvoyant, a soothsayer or an oracle.  My wife works at Walgreens.  It's a good company. The pharmacy has always been staffed with competent people and to my knowledge, has rarely been in the position of being unable to fill a prescription.
Mar 27, 2012 5:02PM
If they do with health insurance what they did with my vacation photos, we're all doomed.
Mar 29, 2012 8:23AM

this whole health care fiasco has only come into play due to george bushes failure

with bill clinton to implement the free universal health care

everyone opens doors for more scams and the intent of corps to close or pass you on-

the 200 million plus contributions from other providers was set- co-op health-bush gave it to the world soccer leauge-




state runs the agency with community members- cheaper to keep her-

we need to get rid of all of the poLiticians except west-rangel-dodd-boehner-a few others can stay-MICHELLE OBAMA-HE WILL BE A GREAT HELP MATE

johnny come newly- all lobby and suitcase-come in emoty leave out full

evan bayh was the next in line- for the president-they forced him out of congress so the deleware corporations COULD BE TAKEN BY EMPLOYEES OF STATE - PUT IT IN YA MADAM- BECAME A DOCTOR IN ISSINING NY USING MY COMPANY NAME-EVAN BAYH ASSISTED IN THE WRITING OF

 language of universal health care- it seems we talk but want no one qualified to assist oUr president we elected

Aug 11, 2011 8:26AM
Of course there's money in health insurance, any insurance. If people get it and don't use it, wa'la. free money. Bigger scam than Bernie's. Even better, they raise your rates if you get speeding tickets even though you pay fines and no accidents. They raise rates when they can't pay their bills.
Aug 11, 2011 8:19AM

Walgreens is not going to make it in the insurance business. They have not done very well in the drug business and IMO will be going broke before long. They are under the same impression as CVS/Caremark. Bigger is better. When a company forgets whom made them into a company they are doomed. The customers made them, not the CEO's as all the companies believe. Sure they may give low prices on some drugs but when a patient needs the medicine and they are told to come back tomorrow its not good for business.


I do not want to disagree about the government on Medicare and VA but IMO they are cutting these programs so the have money to piss of on other crap. When the programs began they were excellent because they cared for the people. No longer is that the case. I received a link the other day showing some government program for foreigners in Spokane, WA where these people live for free, have hospitals, Drs, schools, new homes, maint. on the homes, and salaries paid to them to live. All this comes from Social Security. Now if that doesn't give Americans gas then you aren't a real American! I wonder why this program is being done? Oh yes, to help these become citizens for votes.

Aug 11, 2011 7:51AM

CharInOhio -


Medicare and the VA are the most efficiently run health care systems in the United States.  With an overhead of about 3%, and the highest satisfacation rates by far.  Most people using them are quite pleased with the care they are provided.


To say the government knows nothing about healthcare is rediculous.


New competition can be good in healthcare, but it'd be nice to have an non-profit health care provider available to us consumers to choose from.  It doesn't need to be government run, just non-profit.  This would create serious competition and lower prices for all.  As long as health is all about profits, then denying claims as much as possible will always be part of the game.

Aug 11, 2011 8:31AM
The author is wrong about the 2014 mandate, companies can no longer deny coverage as of Jan 1, 2012
Aug 11, 2011 6:32AM

"So how could they compete in price?"


They can't.  Insurance premiums are regulated.  The premiums for any given policy are going to be exactly the same no matter who you buy it from.

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