Walgreens to switch to insurance exchange system

Sept. 18, 2013 at 3:29 PM

DEERFIELD, Ill., Sept. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. drug retailing giant Walgreens said Wednesday it would join a growing list of companies turning to an insurance exchange system.

The company, based in Deerfield, Ill., said more than 180,000 of its workers and their families would be offered an online insurance exchange where they can choose from 25 insurance plans. The company will subsidize the plan they pick.

The plan is also a method for the company to put a cap on costs, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

Companies, however, are boasting that an insurance exchange gives workers more options.

Last week, Time Warner said it would use an insurance exchange to help keep its costs down for insurance benefits for retirees. International Business Machines has already said it would switch to an insurance exchange for retirees.

Walgreens said its employees had few choices with the current system. The switch "will provide our employees and their dependents with a great array of choices, both in terms of carriers coming to the table, and with very attractive and competitive rates," Mark Englizian, Walgreens' vice president of compensation and benefits, said in a statement.

"We want to empower them ... to have greater control over their health care and to understand and engage in the process," Englizian said.

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