Blues plans, Walgreens launch educational campaign about exchanges

One of the nation's largest health insurers has partnered with the largest pharmacy chain to educate the public about healthcare reform and help consumers shop for coverage through the new health insurance exchanges.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and Walgreens together launched the educational campaign Wednesday with a new website, and said they would distribute brochures that answer basic questions like what the law does, when it takes effect and who is eligible for benefits at most of Walgreens' 8,500 stores across the country. It also will include in-store advertising about the healthcare overhaul, reported the Chicago Tribune.

"The Affordable Care Act will expand access to health insurance for millions of Americans and broaden health benefits, but many Americans have had little experience purchasing health coverage and are confused about what the law means to them," BCBSA Senior Vice President Maureen Sullivan said in a statement. "Our partnership with Walgreens is another example of our commitment to ensuring that all Americans have the tools they need to understand these changes and access affordable health insurance coverage that meets their needs."

As a "health destination" for many of the uninsured consumers the campaign hopes to reach, Walgreens "wanted be able to keep them informed, educate them on the changes and what their options are," Brad Fluegel, Walgreens' chief strategy officer, told Bloomberg. "It's a question people are going to be asking our store personnel, pharmacists, other professionals."

He clarified that the brochures distributed in Walgreens stores won't endorse any specific insurers and consumers won't be able to enroll in the online marketplaces in-store.

To learn more:
- here's the BCBS statement
- read the Chicago Tribune article
- see the Bloomberg article

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