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Walgreens switches employees to private health care plans

As big brands make big decisions regarding how their workers will receive health insurance, smaller brands are looking at their own options in response.



Walgreens makes a major insurance decision

Walgreens is putting healthcare decision making power in the hands of its employees as the company announced it will allow employees to select their own coverage via the healthcare exchange in 2014. The exchange is run by Aon Hewitt and several other companies including Sears and Darden Restaurants participate in it as well.

Walgreens employees will be given a set amount of money which they can use to peruse the various healthcare coverage options offered in the exchange and select the one most appropriate for their needs.

A growing trend

The move away from employer-backed healthcare coverage is one that several other companies are starting to make as changes to the healthcare system take place. The cost of healthcare is rising and Walgreens’ Tom Sondergeld says increased consumer participation can help reel those costs back in. “I think the only way to drive down costs in the health care space is to have the consumer buying the health care be knowledgeable and educated and understand what they are buying,” said the senior director of health and wellbeing.

The available health care options will vary based on the state a particular Walgreens employee lives in and the Associated Press reports that the change will take place starting in 2014. Some of the plans even include options with monthly premiums as low as $5. Economists say this decision will mirror more to come as businesses begin to more closely evaluate their healthcare and benefits programs.

Rather than relying on an employer to make healthcare decisions for them, more consumers will just receive a company payout and have the ability to choose on their own, removing the onus from selecting a handful of programs and making them the standard company-wide.This will require consumers to do more research into the plans available but could result in better tailored health care coverage for each individual employee.

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Destiny Bennett is a journalist who has earned double communications' degrees in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as a certification in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written stories for AustinWoman Magazine as well as various University of Texas publications and enjoys the art of telling a story. Her interests include finance, technology, social media...and watching HGTV religiously.



  1. rolandestrada

    September 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I wonder if the payouts will qualify to be taxed as income by the IRS.

  2. Vincent M Sr

    September 28, 2013 at 1:25 am

    Another bonus opportunity for the CEO! At least the employees will be able to get insurance as long as the GOP stops their tantrums and support the law instead of lying about how it will hurt businesses.

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