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.