Walgreens to sell health insurance?

Aug. 9, 2011 at 6:15 PM
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DEERFIELD, Ill., Aug. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. drugstore chain Walgreens is expected to begin selling health insurance before the end of the year, sources told CNNMoney.

Walgreens did not comment directly on the plan. Instead, a company spokesman said the retailer was "looking at a number of options in light of healthcare reform as we continue to seek ways to help our customers."

CNNMoney said Tuesday Walgreens was planning to sell health insurance for customers with a range of price options.

Federal and state governments must start healthcare exchanges by 2014 to offer subsidized health insurance for those with too little insurance or none at all. Private companies, including companies not normally associated with healthcare, are also expected to begin health insurance exchanges in what will soon be a multibillion-dollar business, CNNMoney said.

For Walgreens, the move takes the company a step closer to being a one-stop place to shop for a variety of healthcare needs.

"For retailers, (an insurance exchange) is a way to generate more revenue from a new business," said Chris Hoffman, chief marketing officer at investment banking firm TripleTree.

"Those companies that get their exchanges up and running before 2014 could also succeed in stealing customers away from the public exchanges," Hoffman said.

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