Video: Walgreens to dump employee coverage for 160,000

posted at 10:01 am on September 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Remember “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan”? For 160,000 employees of Walgreens, that’s now old and busted.  The new hotness will be receiving a flat-rate bonus to spend in private exchanges in order to get out from under the costs of health insurance as ObamaCare rolls out:

Walgreen Co. (WAG), the biggest U.S. drugstore chain, will move its workers into a private health insurance exchange to buy company-subsidized coverage, the latest sign of how the debate over Obamacare is accelerating a historic shift in corporate health-care coverage.

Walgreen’s decision affects about 160,000 current employees and follows similar action this year by Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) and Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) As an alternative to administering a traditional health plan, all three will send their employees to an exchange run byAon Plc. (AON) Fourteen more companies will join in 2014 when 600,000 people will participate, Aon said.

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. While the private effort isn’t directly linked to Obamacare, the debate over the law has spurred a new look at cost-cutting by businesses, municipalities and consumers.

The problem for employees, though, is that a flat subsidy for spending in private exchanges just transfers the burden of rising costs from the employer to the employee.  If employers like Walgreens expected ObamaCare to actually control costs, they wouldn’t be dumping employee coverage.   CBS This Morning’s Jill Schlesinger calls this “a big deal,” and points out that this gets Walgreens and other corporate employers off the hook for compliance costs:

“I can’t see how this is going to be good for the employee in the future,” Schlesinger adds, given the CBO projection yesterday of health-care cost escalation over the next twenty years.

By the way, this move comes just two months after Walgreens agreed to partner with HHS on promoting ObamaCare — which was supposed to drive that cost curve downward:

The nation’s largest drugstore chain is partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield to promote ObamaCare before the new insurance exchanges open on Oct. 1.

Walgreens and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) launched a website Wednesday and promised to distribute brochures about ObamaCare at Walgreens stores around the country.

This must be part of that “great for thee, bad for we” promotion technique, huh?


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Wow, who could have seen this coming?

Chris of Rights on September 18, 2013 at 10:04 AM

All part of the plan to get LIV to demand single payer.

rbj on September 18, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Anybody got a running total so far of all the people who’ve lost their health coverage due to Obamacare? It’s gotta be in the millions at this point.

Doughboy on September 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

“I can’t see how this is going to be good for the employee in the future.”

There will be no employees in the future. Everyone will work for the government. Assets will be seized and America will be sold to the highest bidder.

redguy on September 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

This is not going to be limited to low-skilled wage workers. IBM recently decided to scrap its retiree healthcare programs and dump everyone into exchanges. Many more companies will follow as the incentives are all wrong.

Let the disaster happen. Only then will people get worked up enough (hopefully) to demand this POS legislation be scrapped.

powerpickle on September 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

How long before the Democrats start talking about how the rich are making ObamaCare fail because of greed?

gwelf on September 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Anybody got a running total so far of all the people who’ve lost their health coverage due to Obamacare? It’s gotta be in the millions at this point.

Doughboy on September 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

I am losing mine. Not sure what to do. On meds that cost $2500 per month. Screwed.

redguy on September 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM

The new hotness will be receiving a flat-rate bonus to spend in private exchanges in order to get out from under the costs of health insurance…

I don’t like the reasons behind this but I actually support the concept.

I’d much rather my employer paid me the cash value of my health insurance so I could enter the market to buy my own, portable, insurance. I even asked my SVP of HR if it would be possible. She said no.

The problem though is that Obamacare is driving costs up and will prevent the market from working its magic to drive down costs.

Charlemagne on September 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM

This must be part of that “great for thee, bad for we” promotion technique, huh?

Also like the “go along to get along” and the “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” technique. Lefties love corporations only as long as they play along with fascism.

Fenris on September 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Oh well, I guess the feds will need to step in with single payer and save everyone.

But don’t you worry, the same folks who audit you for your political beliefs, grope your children in the airport security line, tax you into the ground to spread your wealth, and abandon you to die on a rooftop embassy as terrorists move in to kill you have only your best interests in mind.

Bishop on September 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Looks like someone is itching for an IRS audit?

guido911 on September 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM

And that’s why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance — just as most states require you to carry auto insurance. (Applause.) Likewise — likewise, businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care, or chip in to help cover the cost of their workers. There will be a hardship waiver for those individuals who still can’t afford coverage, and 95 percent of all small businesses, because of their size and narrow profit margin, would be exempt from these requirements. (Applause.) But we can’t have large businesses and individuals who can afford coverage game the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees. Improving our health care system only works if everybody does their part.

- President barack Hussein Obama, 9/9/09.
He lied.

kingsjester on September 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Obamacare is awesome! – Barack Obama, Sept. 17th, 2013.

Charlemagne on September 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM

I have sat through numerous meetings on this issue since it’s inception. Companies across the country began meeting on this as congress was just at the very beginning of shoving it through.

It is a complete and total mess. Here is the problem, it is too late to be repealed, it is too late to be unfunded. The window of opportunity has been closed while politicians played games. Companies follow the rules, period. Even if congress has no idea what the rules are.

If they defund Obamacare now, these individuals that have been dropped will have nowhere to go. Companies will not automatically reinstate if the law is dropped. There would be a time limit. There is much more to come, you will begin hearing about the spouses that are not covered by MANY companies. Wait until we hear the list.

The damage has been done.

shar61 on September 18, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Walgreens is one of the few things out there that is *actually* reducing costs: with pay-for-service walk-in clinics.

HakerA on September 18, 2013 at 10:19 AM

This is not going to be limited to low-skilled wage workers. IBM recently decided to scrap its retiree healthcare programs and dump everyone into exchanges. Many more companies will follow as the incentives are all wrong.

Let the disaster happen. Only then will people get worked up enough (hopefully) to demand this POS legislation be scrapped.

powerpickle on September 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

People need to get worked up WHY beyond dumping ObamaCare.
We need to dump the socialist elites. We need to dump this screwed up government period.
They will bankrupt America and then kill us off.
Market driven solutions are the answer.
Yes people will get left behind. Maybe they will get off their fat asses
and start working? If they don’t – let em starve.
It starts with voting ALL democrats out of office. There are no “moderate” democrats.
They are socialists and communists. If you want to look like Europe…….
We don’t – so commit yourself to defeating ALL democrats – period.
If you have liberal friends – stop being their friends.
You must cut them off. You cannot reason with them.
Defeat them. This is what they have done to you, they smile
while they twist the knife in your back.
Don’t be naive and stupid – that is no way to go through life.

redguy on September 18, 2013 at 10:19 AM

I am losing mine. Not sure what to do. On meds that cost $2500 per month. Screwed.

redguy on September 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM

That really sucks. Theoretically you should be able to buy insurance even with preexisting conditions under the oh-so-wonderful new system. But the government is so disorganized nobody really knows what is going to happen. Don’t be passive!

Fenris on September 18, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Expect to see a rather large reduction in forces by Walgreens next year also.

Cindy Munford on September 18, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Single payer here we come!

mrscullen on September 18, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Why is everyone acting like this is a bug. Pretty positive its a feature. Drive people out of employer coverage into exchanges to make them financially viable. If the little guy gets screwed, well thats the price you pay for Dear Leaders legacy.

Zaggs on September 18, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Let the disaster happen. Only then will people get worked up enough (hopefully) to demand this POS legislation be scrapped.

powerpickle on September 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

….in favor of single payer.

/you know that’s where this is going…

Kafir on September 18, 2013 at 10:22 AM

All part of Beohner & McConnel’s plan.

tetriskid on September 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM

How long before the Democrats start talking about how the rich are making ObamaCare fail because of greed?

gwelf on September 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Their idiot supporters are using that excuse. I saw a bunch of posts the other day on Mediaite where when presented with damning evidence of Obamacare’s failure(the rising premiums, part-time employment, and dumped coverage), they blamed it all on greed. Which requires a level of delusion I can’t even fathom given the incredibly coincidental timing of all of these unintended consequences along with the fact that the dumped coverage and shift to part-time employment is occurring with all kinds of employers such as corporations, small businesses, and universities. The last of which are not exactly unsympathetic to Obama and the progressive agenda.

Doughboy on September 18, 2013 at 10:25 AM

If they defund Obamacare now, these individuals that have been dropped will have nowhere to go. Companies will not automatically reinstate if the law is dropped. There would be a time limit. There is much more to come, you will begin hearing about the spouses that are not covered by MANY companies. Wait until we hear the list.

The damage has been done.

shar61 on September 18, 2013 at 10:18 AM

The damage is just beginning. Politicians will not be able to solve it.

redguy on September 18, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Obama is awesome you baggers
-delusional lib posters

cmsinaz on September 18, 2013 at 10:26 AM

When do we start beheading politicians? Seriously. Tarring and feathering just seems too soft.

patman77 on September 18, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Count me in also as one who welcomes employers getting out of the health care business. But we’re not moving in the right direction. Government should be getting out too. Our problems began when government started skewing the market by giving employers healthcare cost deductions. Inefficient insurance, which by nature should cover unforseen events, began to cover all medical procedures, even the most routine. The medical profession has been corrupted by this arrangement, and it has to go. But going to government health care is exactly the wrong direction.

paul1149 on September 18, 2013 at 10:30 AM

I am losing mine. Not sure what to do. On meds that cost $2500 per month. Screwed.

redguy on September 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM

That really sucks. Theoretically you should be able to buy insurance even with preexisting conditions under the oh-so-wonderful new system. But the government is so disorganized nobody really knows what is going to happen. Don’t be passive!

Fenris on September 18, 2013 at 10:19 AM

I have gone on the gov website. It’s a disaster. My doctor’s are throwing up their hands.
As Oct 1 nears, I fear that I may lose my meds by end of year. I am actually hoarding what I can
and extending my time between shots. I will probably be flying without a net by March. I may just have to go to an emergency room and just live in the hospital by then. Instead of being a productive taxpayer, I may end up as a casualty of ObamaCare. Thanks Obama!

redguy on September 18, 2013 at 10:30 AM

The medical profession has been corrupted by this arrangement, and it has to go. But going to government health care is exactly the wrong direction.

paul1149 on September 18, 2013 at 10:30 AM

The doctors have huge staffs to deal with insurance. Many doctors are dumping insurance and going to a cash basis. Once enough doctors cannot afford the Mercedes and Golf memberships they will figure something out.

redguy on September 18, 2013 at 10:32 AM

When do we start beheading politicians? Seriously. Tarring and feathering just seems too soft.

patman77 on September 18, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Count me in!

redguy on September 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

The biggest Obama supporter I know also works for Walgreens. I feel sorry for all the innocent people caught up in the crap, but I love the fact that she’s getting her hope and change.

joekenha on September 18, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Don’t tell the folks at Time this.

Bmore on September 18, 2013 at 10:36 AM

While the private effort isn’t directly linked to Obamacare, the debate over the law has spurred a new look at cost-cutting by businesses, municipalities and consumers.

Who penned that lie…

PatriotRider on September 18, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Anybody got a running total so far of all the people who’ve lost their health coverage due to Obamacare? It’s gotta be in the millions at this point.

Doughboy on September 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

I was wondering about that too. We need a site like “Daily Job Cuts”.com. Something like “Daily Insurance Dump”.

lynncgb on September 18, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Let the disaster happen. Only then will people get worked up enough (hopefully) to demand this POS legislation be scrapped.

powerpickle on September 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

I’m afraid the huge number of mindless slugs in this country will simply follow their messiah like compliant sheep.

rplat on September 18, 2013 at 10:37 AM

How long before the Democrats start talking about how the rich are making ObamaCare fail because of greed?

gwelf on September 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Their idiot supporters are using that excuse. I saw a bunch of posts the other day on Mediaite where when presented with damning evidence of Obamacare’s failure(the rising premiums, part-time employment, and dumped coverage), they blamed it all on greed. Which requires a level of delusion I can’t even fathom given the incredibly coincidental timing of all of these unintended consequences along with the fact that the dumped coverage and shift to part-time employment is occurring with all kinds of employers such as corporations, small businesses, and universities. The last of which are not exactly unsympathetic to Obama and the progressive agenda.

Doughboy on September 18, 2013 at 10:25 AM

That’s going to be a hard-sell when state and local governments and some non-profits are dumping employees for the same reasons, or cutting hours <30.

slickwillie2001 on September 18, 2013 at 10:42 AM

The good cop (McConnell & Boehner) / bad cop (Obama) technique being used to prop up this law is a farce.

There isn’t anybody representing the people being hurt by Obamacare except for a few people like Cruz, Lee, etc… & when they do say anything they are attacked viciously by the leadership of their OWN PARTY.

tetriskid on September 18, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Hmm. Walgreens still plans on covering the subsidies of these employees. The only difference is that these employees will be allowed to go on private exchanges to buy their own health insurance instead of having one chosen for them by Walgreens. How is this a problem???

loveofcountry on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

America is crisis, not yet but it’s starting.

Oil Can on September 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Hmm. Walgreens still plans on covering the subsidies of these employees. The only difference is that these employees will be allowed to go on private exchanges to buy their own health insurance instead of having one chosen for them by Walgreens. How is this a problem???

loveofcountry on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

“If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.”

And you need to change “allowed to go on private exchanges” to “forced to go on private exchanges”.

Chris of Rights on September 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

loveofcountry on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

“Private Exchanges”?

Thost “private exchanges” are forced, through Obama, to be funded by the states.

And, several states have refused to do so.

Try reading.

kingsjester on September 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

160,000 employees here, 160,000 employees there… pretty soon we’ll be talking some real numbers… oh… I guess we already are…

dominigan on September 18, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Hmm. Walgreens still plans on covering the subsidies of these employees. The only difference is that these employees will be allowed to go on private exchanges to buy their own health insurance instead of having one chosen for them by Walgreens. How is this a problem???

loveofcountry on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Several problems. First of all, there are no exchanges in a lot of states since they’re not required by law to create them. Secondly, those subsidies won’t do a lot of good given how expensive the plans are going to be on these exchanges. And that’s assuming there even are any plans. There’s been story after story of private insurers closing up shop and leaving states because they can’t afford to offer coverage anymore. It seems like we get these reports on a monthly basis for places like California.

Doughboy on September 18, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Barack Hussein Obama… mmmm mmmm mmmm…

Khun Joe on September 18, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Hmm. Walgreens still plans on covering the subsidies of these employees. The only difference is that these employees will be allowed to go on private exchanges to buy their own health insurance instead of having one chosen for them by Walgreens. How is this a problem???

loveofcountry on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Reading comprehension failure alert.

It does NOT say that in the article. It only states that they are offering a flat fee to apply to the exchanges. It doesn’t say how much, whether it covers the cost, or whether it varies from individual to family plans.

dominigan on September 18, 2013 at 10:52 AM

The nation’s largest drugstore chain is partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield to promote ObamaCare before the new insurance exchanges open on Oct. 1.

Reap what you sow, then foist the terrible results on your employees.

Marcus Traianus on September 18, 2013 at 10:52 AM

You can buy insurance in the “exchange” the day you get sick, or the day after. I’m sure the hospital will help with the paperwork to get its bill paid. Then drop it when you get better. Meanwhile, pay nothing.

Akzed on September 18, 2013 at 10:53 AM

People label a policy as a failure because it does not bring about its declared objective. For example, drug policies do not reduce drug use; educational policies do not educate children better; national-security policies do not make Americans more secure; and so forth. The mistake is to take seriously the announced policy objectives, to forget that virtually everything the government does is a fraud. The best way to document the government’s nearly unblemished record of policy success is to follow the money. With very little trouble, you will be able to follow the trail to the individuals and groups who benefit from the policy.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on September 18, 2013 at 10:53 AM

“Free” healthcare for all!

Oh wait, this actually not only costs something, but costs more than I am currently paying with less services?

Marcus Traianus on September 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM

It is hard to believe that corporations would support policies that directly harm their business, but it seems the top echelon of these organizations see themselves as part of the Washington ruling-class and accept political conformity as the major part of their task.

This is why major companies have indoctrination campaigns about “going green”, “inclusion” and “social responsibility” and other nonsense that has no relevance to their primary duty to stockholders.

I suppose the top guys at Walgreens don’t use the healthplan Walgreens offers, so they can keep the plan they already have, and if Walgreens has to go out of business, well, there will always be a party job available in Washington in return for their political loyalty.

virgo on September 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Several problems. First of all, there are no exchanges in a lot of states since they’re not required by law to create them. Secondly, those subsidies won’t do a lot of good given how expensive the plans are going to be on these exchanges. And that’s assuming there even are any plans. There’s been story after story of private insurers closing up shop and leaving states because they can’t afford to offer coverage anymore. It seems like we get these reports on a monthly basis for places like California.

Doughboy on September 18, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Seems like an opportunity for the red states to band together and start allowing private insurers to offer insurance across state lines. They are already being sued for less. This is how interstate banking got started. Perry? Jindal?

monalisa on September 18, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Cash is king for doctor visits.

Tiajuana for medication.

Costa Rica for surgical procedures.

Welcome to the New World Order under ObamaDoesn’tCare.

MichaelGabriel on September 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM

loveofcountry on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Just because the company provides subsidies doesn’t mean the choices the employees have will be affordable.

chemman on September 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM

So, Walgreen’s is dropping 160K workers from health insurance, but subsidizing their out of pocket costs. Wait until Walgreen’s decides to drop this perk. Then people will be stuck in a part-time job with additional costs on a reduced income.

djaymick on September 18, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Hmm. Walgreens still plans on covering the subsidies of these employees. The only difference is that these employees will be allowed to go on private exchanges to buy their own health insurance instead of having one chosen for them by Walgreens. How is this a problem???

loveofcountry on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

At least one answer is right there in this post…

The problem for employees, though, is that a flat subsidy for spending in private exchanges just transfers the burden of rising costs from the employer to the employee. If employers like Walgreens expected ObamaCare to actually control costs, they wouldn’t be dumping employee coverage. CBS This Morning’s Jill Schlesinger calls this “a big deal,” and points out that this gets Walgreens and other corporate employers off the hook for compliance costs:

Employers can look at last year’s insurance bill, say “the average employee cost us x to cover last year, so everybody gets x as a bonus.”

If you’re an employee who can’t get coverage for x- you eat the cost.

And if you think insurance will cost you x next year, rather than x+y, could I interest you in a business deal I’m working on…?

:-)

cs89 on September 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM

…and then we told them “you can keep your doctor”…

slickwillie2001 on September 18, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Wave of the future. as i read this this works just like unions multi -employer plans

http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/09/18/5219937/new-employer-participation-in.html

gerrym51 on September 18, 2013 at 11:26 AM

I think private exchanges are different from Obamacare exchanges. I think.

But yeah, why don’t red states allow this to happen, and then people can bypass Obamacare altogether? Companies don’t want to deal with the cost of compliance. They would need an HR department as big as their employee force.

So the GOP should find a way to foster these private exchanges, and end up with something like the Whole Foods plan.

Also, I bet Walgreens is getting something from HHS. Tax breaks, something, for their support for Queen Sebelius.

PattyJ on September 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Walgreen Co. (WAG), the biggest U.S. drugstore chain …

Huh? Not by a long shot. CVS is Fortune rank 13 at $123 billion in annual revenue. Walgreen is 37th at $71 billion.

Jaibones on September 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM

“great for thee, bad for we

Grrrrr.

~Language Martinet

The Monster on September 18, 2013 at 11:34 AM

No. No. Don’t worry. The ACA is going to bend the cost curve downward, we were told.

BKeyser on September 18, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

How’s that for Orwellian Newspeak?

justltl on September 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

I don’t understand how anyone would think single payer would be any less of a disaster.

teacherman on September 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Note to Walgreen’s employees and other low information types who voted for Mr. Hope and Change: next time, spend a little less time watching ‘Dances with the Stars’ and screwing around with your Fantasy Football league, and a scoach more time considering the Socialist leanings of the guy or gal you plan to vote for…

CaptFlood on September 18, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Hmm. Walgreens still plans on covering the subsidies of these employees. The only difference is that these employees will be allowed to go on private exchanges to buy their own health insurance instead of having one chosen for them by Walgreens. How is this a problem???

loveofcountry on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

They do not get to choose the private exchange. It has been chosen for them.

stvnscott on September 18, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Now, keep in mind, the cost for Walgreen’s to dump workers into the exchanges would be $3,000 per worker.

Which means, the fine for refusing to insure 160,000 workers would be $480m.

Whatever this private exchange solution is, even if it costs the company nearly half a billion dollars, that’s still cheaper than paying the fine, and I imagine both those options are cheaper than providing traditional health insurance.

Half a billion dollars. I’m just gonna leave that number here…

The Schaef on September 18, 2013 at 11:48 AM

I don’t understand how anyone would think single payer would be any less of a disaster.

teacherman on September 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Oh, it will be much worse.
Everything will be considered to be a “healthcare” issue, thereby allowing the government complete control of your existence.

And they will, of course determine what tests and treatments you are entitled to.

justltl on September 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Personally screwed… Thanks Barry for allowing them to discontinue my health insurance.

Illinidiva on September 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM

These private exchanges may work out really well. They will have a ton of people in them, so costs should be low. Employees will probably migrate to HSA type plans because it is their money now.

HSA plans have gotten very competitive lately, even for my small business plan.

By putting the onus on the employee to manage their money, costs should fall.

The Obama exchanges will offer subpar services because many docs and hospitals won’t accept their low rates.

If you think about it, Walgreens was like their own private exchange before. Now they are just joining a larger group.

phillypolitics on September 18, 2013 at 12:07 PM

I work for Walgreens and got the glorious announcement yesterday about being screwed. This basically just shifts the costs to the employees. A normal PPO plan will cost more and the bare bones basic plans will cost about what I pay now. It is basically screwing over employees.

Illinidiva on September 18, 2013 at 12:12 PM

The left created a self-replicating virus to destroy the private health care system that’s now out of control and destroying the entire economy.

RadClown on September 18, 2013 at 12:13 PM

I work for Walgreens and got the glorious announcement yesterday about being screwed. This basically just shifts the costs to the employees. A normal PPO plan will cost more and the bare bones basic plans will cost about what I pay now. It is basically screwing over employees.

Illinidiva on September 18, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Are you getting a cash payment, or must it be used for health care?

RadClown on September 18, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Keep voting democrat!

Murphy9 on September 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Huh? Not by a long shot. CVS is Fortune rank 13 at $123 billion in annual revenue. Walgreen is 37th at $71 billion.

if you don’t count the PBM(caremark) cvs owns walgreens is the biggest drug stor chain

gerrym51 on September 18, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Are you getting a cash payment, or must it be used for health care?

RadClown on September 18, 2013 at 12:15 PM

I have no idea how the thing is going to work. I didn’t even know that anything was going to be different this year. They didn’t even send out a detailed explanation of the situation.

We didn’t even get a formal announcement or explanation. It was an email that just confused everyone more. They sent it to my personal email account, not my work email.

The annoying thing for me is that if they every dropped the coverage completely, then I wouldn’t get any subsidies at all. Apparently, being a single woman making $60K per year makes me “wealthy,” so I’d have to shell out $300/ month+ for a product I don’t even use.

Illinidiva on September 18, 2013 at 12:23 PM

obama’care’ will destroy the unions.

Schadenfreude on September 18, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Here’s another one.

Oldnuke on September 18, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Hmm. Walgreens still plans on covering the subsidies of these employees. The only difference is that these employees will be allowed to go on private exchanges to buy their own health insurance instead of having one chosen for them by Walgreens. How is this a problem???

loveofcountry on September 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

1. Subsidy will be a flat rate. Increasing the subsidy because of rising premium costs would be optional though I suppose they could all unionize and see if that makes the employee’s lot better.

2. The private exchange will likely have to have minimum coverage consistent with the public exchanges which means that employees have only a limited capacity to choose the coverage they want. Unless, of course, they want the more expensive plans in which case the extra premium cost is not born by Walgreens.

3. Since it may be that the Walgreens employees pushed into the private exchange will now be viewed as individuals choosing plans as opposed to a collective group with a, more or less, group plan, the premiums for their coverage is likely to be higher.

The result of this action is that the marginal cost of an employee’s health insurance comes out of the employee. The mandates that will likely have to be applied to coverage plans, even on a private exchange, means the employee has less flexibility to tailor coverage to his/her situation.

The PPACA seems to want a “one minimum size fits all but you can spend more if you can afford it” which seems essential to the ACA because it allows for cross? subsidies from the younger insured to the older insured.

Russ808 on September 18, 2013 at 2:22 PM

The problem for employees, though, is that a flat subsidy for spending in private exchanges just transfers the burden of rising costs from the employer to the employee.

Won’t most of these employees be eligible for “subsidies”? Taxpayers are going to be picking up much, if not most of the burden.

Buy Danish on September 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

The outfit my son and his girlfriend work for has cut hours in order to shove their insurance costs to the employee and send them over to Ocare. Companies and workers would be better off with a HSA type insurance. This anchorette at CBS has finally seen the light that ocare is not going to be good for workers in the future. Where was she 4 years ago.

Kissmygrits on September 18, 2013 at 3:06 PM

So, everybody’s up for defunding today. Let’s work on the shutdown while we’re at it, too.

Kissmygrits on September 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM

ObamaCare is a minor factor here. Sure, it is another incentive with its nightmare maze of regulations which is being implemented before it is even fully constructed, but the big reason is costs.

ObamaCare does little to control costs. The only concrete step it takes is the “death panels” to decide what treatments it will pay for, how much, and for whom. It mainly “controls costs” by shifting them from insurers and individuals and employers to the government.

The same better reforms are still around, market-based plans which will give people more direct control over their care and costs and incentives to find the best deals. After we erase the Obama Era from the history books, maybe we can get something done.

Adjoran on September 18, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Wow, it would be nice if anyone actually read the article before commenting on it.

The movement to private exchanges has little to do with Obamacare. Employees get more choice (25 plans vs. 4) and many actually opt for a scaled down plan that meets there needs, so they save money. Some employees actually step up, and pay a bit more for better coverage than what is provided by a traditional company plan. It’s called choice – you get what you pay for.

Conservatives and other free market advocates have for years complained about our awful employer based health care system. They were right. Now that the onus is moving back onto the individual, where it should be, conservatives are complaining? Companies will save money by these moves; instead of self-insuring, the cost burden will be with private insurers. There will be a bigger risk pool, which will help control costs. Companies can lower costs, increase profits, offer higher wages that an employee can choose how he or she spends, and hire more employees.

At its core, Obamacare is the conservative solution to health care. Conservatives should be working to make it more conservative, not attempting to defund it, which is a fool’s game.

And for Pete’s sake, conservatives need to stop bitching about how their state lacks an exchange. If it does, its because your governor was listening to you. It’s your fault your state lacks a functioning exchange, and no one else’s.

Mr. Arkadin on September 18, 2013 at 3:31 PM

The movement to private exchanges has little to do with Obamacare. Employees get more choice (25 plans vs. 4) and many actually opt for a scaled down plan that meets there needs, so they save money. Some employees actually step up, and pay a bit more for better coverage than what is provided by a traditional company plan. It’s called choice – you get what you pay for.
Mr. Arkadin on September 18, 2013 at 3:31 PM

The choice is highly deceptive. Do they have the “choice” to enroll in a high deductible catastrophic plan with low premiums? The mandates dictate minimum coverage and ironically, if you opt for a really good plan you want to pay oodles more for in premium payments you’ll be taxed at the end.

As for the exchanges, California (say) has them but insurers aren’t choosing to participate in the individual market because it’s not profitable.

Buy Danish on September 18, 2013 at 3:41 PM

…and the sheep are quiet!
…and the politburo press!

KOOLAID2 on September 18, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Buy Danish on September 18, 2013 at 3:41 PM

“Previously, Walgreen had two insurers each offering two plans, for four total options, Polzin said. The Aon exchange has five insurers each offering five different plans. Under the private exchange system, companies give workers a subsidy, and the employee will make up any difference in cost for more complex coverage.

In Aon’s private exchange, which last year had about 100,000 workers in it, 42 percent of people chose health insurance with less coverage and lower cost, than they had previously through their employer. And 26 percent of people chose richer benefits.
“Most people don’t need a whole lot of health-care coverage,” Sperling said. A small fraction of people, less than 10 percent, drive the bulk of health-care costs, he said.

Most large employers are self-insured, meaning that they take on the financial risk of their employees’ health costs. While an insurer typically administers the plan, if health costs go up in a given year because a lot of people get sick, the company pays. Under a subsidy model in the exchanges, a company’s costs are more predictable and controlled, and the insurer takes the financial risk.”

You should read the article. As for California, what does that have to do with anything? That is a public exchange. This article is about private exchanges subsidized by employers, which is separate from Obamacare. Moreover, although a couple of insurers have chosen not to participate in the California exchange, twelve have opted in, including Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and Kaiser Permanente. Of course, you wouldn’t know that, as it doesn’t fit the narrative.

Mr. Arkadin on September 18, 2013 at 5:24 PM

So Mr. Arkadin as a Walgreens employee I got screwed, but I guess you still have your gold plated insurance. Are you going to pay for my bills or as a “plebe” who should be happy to get to go to a Take Care Clinic.

Illinidiva on September 18, 2013 at 10:37 PM

By the way, this move comes just two months after Walgreens agreed to partner with HHS on promoting ObamaCare

Gee, one would almost think that these big companies were in on this with the insurance companies.

I hope we’re not going to blindly support these corporations just because they’re private businesses and have every right to screw over their employees if they so desire…if for no other reason than somehow, some way, this stuff will bit the rest of us in the rear end whether we work for these outfits or not.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 18, 2013 at 10:42 PM

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