Walgreens Boots 120,000 Employees Off Healthcare, Tells Them To Buy Their Own Plans
BETH PINSKER, REUTERS
SEP. 18, 2013
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Walgreen Co is moving 120,000 employees to a private health insurance exchange from coverage provided directly from carriers, the company will announce Friday.
The pharmacy chain will join 17 other large employers on the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange as part of a growing movement to offer employees cash to purchase their own plans on such exchanges.
The end-cost to employees depends on the plan chosen, but they typically get more options than under traditional arrangements. Private exchanges mimic the coverage mandated as part of the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment in the public exchanges starts October 1.
“What happens to employer contributions over time? Will they put in as much as they put in the past? These are unanswered questions but potential negatives,” says Paul Fronstin, a senior research associate with the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The benefit to Walgreen and other employers is unknown at this point, as their cost-savings are not clear.