KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Walgreens To Put Workers Into Private Health Insurance Exchanges

The move is part of trend among businesses to shift coverage responsibilities to their employees.

Kaiser Health News: FAQ: How Is Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Changing?
Employers are raising deductibles, giving workers health savings accounts that look like 401(k) plans, mimicking the health law’s online insurance marketplaces and nudging patients to compare prices and shop around for treatments. Together the moves could eventually affect far more consumers than the law's Medicaid expansion or health exchanges aimed at the uninsured and scheduled to open Oct. 1. Here’s a rundown (Hancock, 9/17).

The Wall Street Journal: Walgreen To Give Workers Payments To Buy Health Plans
Rising health-care costs and a climate of change brought about by the new federal health law are prompting American corporations to revisit the pact they've long had with employees over medical benefits. ... On Wednesday, the drugstore giant i[Walgreen Co.] s expected to disclose a plan to provide payments to eligible employees for the subsidized purchase of insurance starting in 2014. The plan will affect roughly 160,000 employees, and will require them to shop for coverage on a private health-insurance marketplace (Martin and Weaver, 9/17).

Bloomberg: Walgreen Joins In Exodus Of Workers To Private Exchanges
Walgreen’s decision ... follows similar action this year by Sears Holdings Corp. and Darden Restaurants Inc.  As an alternative to administering a traditional health plan, all three will send their employees to an exchange run by Aon Plc. ... The insurance options offered by the private exchange are similar to those in the Affordable Care Act’s public exchanges, though workers will get their subsidies from their companies instead of the government, said Ken Sperling of Aon (Armstrong, 9/17).

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