Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) (Nasdaq:WAG) announced today that it will provide more than 160,000 eligible employees with employer-sponsored health insurance coverage in 2014 through its proprietary “Live Well Benefits Store,” a marketplace that is an outsourced solution through Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange. The Walgreens program provides more health coverage choices and an opportunity for most employees to lower their out-of-pocket health care costs next year.
In addition, the new program allows Walgreens to continue offering health insurance and wellness benefits to its employees as the plan administrator, while providing tools and resources that help employees personalize coverage for themselves and their dependents. The plan members will also continue receiving access to Walgreens Healthcare Clinics for a $5 co-pay.
“Under this new program, employees will have expanded choices to personalize their health care coverage in a competitive environment, giving our diverse workforce the flexibility they need to meet their health care needs,” said Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, Walgreens senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “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.”
The new program also continues Walgreens value-based pharmacy benefit for employees, which excludes prescriptions from plan deductibles. “Our experience has been that this approach to pharmacy benefit design is the best way to improve medication adherence and lower overall health care costs,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness.Walgreens anticipates that many of its retirees who are under age 65 and are eligible for company health care benefits will see reductions in their health care premiums and more plan options as well. Medicare-eligible retirees will see no changes in 2014. The new program also provides an opportunity for Walgreen retirees who weren’t previously eligible for health care benefits to participate in affordable plan options through the “Live Well Benefits Store.”