Walgreen Moving Employees to Health Insurance Exchange
Will be called the 'Living Well Benefits Store'
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2013 12:26 PM CDT
FILE - The sign above a Walgreens entrance, is seen in this Monday, Sept. 28, 2009 file photo taken in Gloucester, Mass. Walgreen Co. will become the latest big employer to send its workers shopping for...   (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File)

(Newser) – Drugstore giant Walgreen is joining IBM and a growing number of other companies sending their employees shopping for health insurance on a private health insurance exchange. Walgreen, the parent company of eponymous drug store chain Walgreens, will continue to pay the same contribution it always has, but some 120,000 employees will be able to choose from one of up to 25 options, reports the AP. Another 60,000 employees, many part-time, will remain ineligible for health care, adds Reuters. Walgreen is joining the Aon Hewitt exchange, also used by Sears and Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster), though it will call its own marketplace the "Living Well Benefits Store," reports Forbes.

In a fairly impressive piece of spin, a company rep says Walgreen is actually doing both the employees and America a favor: "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," he says, per the AP. But critics of the approach say private exchanges allow employers to lock in the amount of money they pay, then tell staff to "go buy their own health care" without necessarily agreeing to increase that amount or respond to inflation in the future, Forbes reports.

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Sep 20, 2013 7:15 PM CDT
Another victim of Obamacare.....even the 3000% mark up in the pharmacy can't pay enough to cover the added cost of Obama's Unafordable Health Care?
Sep 19, 2013 10:49 AM CDT
Remember 26 states are not setting up the exchanges. So half the country is shit_out_of_luck?
Sep 19, 2013 10:47 AM CDT
Actually even if these companies dropped the benefits completely. They will pay less in fines and insurance increaces. Democrats and "Tickle's" company seem to be on the same page?