Retail News Breaks
CVS, HHS chief unveil health insurance assistance
September 13th, 2013
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Caremark Corp. announced an information and outreach program to help customers better understand new health insurance benefits from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during a store visit in Orlando, Fla., by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Sebelius and Merlo at a CVS/pharmacy in Orlando, Fla.
CVS said Friday that the program includes retail events and brochure displays at more than 7,500 CVS/pharmacy stores and 650 MinuteClinic locations. Information is also available online at CVS.com/insurance.
The drug chain's program comes as the ACA's new Health Insurance Marketplace is set to launch. Open enrollment for the marketplace, through which many uninsured Americans will now be able to buy health plans via state exchanges, begins Oct. 1 and runs to March 31. An estimated 7 million people will buy private plans via the exchanges in 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
"Providing information about new health insurance coverage opportunities is in keeping with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health," stated CVS Caremark president and chief executive officer Larry Merlo, who led the store tour with Sebelius. "Over the coming months, our pharmacists and stores will be serving a key role in providing a point of activation for customers to learn more."
A recent CVS Caremark survey found that pharmacies will be a key destination for uninsured Americans, with 68% of respondents expecting retail pharmacies to offer health insurance information in stores and/or online. Among those asking for help, Hispanics and young adults (ages 18 to 35) were much more likely to say they need help understanding the exchanges.
"Families look to their local pharmacy as a place they can go to for honest, straightforward advice they can trust," Sebelius commented. "Americans trust their pharmacists for tell-it-like-it-is advice about their health, and pharmacies like CVS have a special role in these efforts. We thank CVS Caremark and CVS stores nationwide for their commitment to providing Americans with the information they need about the Health Insurance Marketplace."
CVS added that it will be hosting about 5,000 in-store events with health insurance experts, including representatives of state exchanges and local health plans. And in September representatives from Get Covered America will be available at CVS/pharmacy Project Health free health screening events.
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