The kickoff of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period has kept community pharmacy chains busy.

Affordable Care Act, open enrollment, community pharmacy chains, Walmart, CVS Caremark, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Navarro Discount Pharmacy, health care coverage, regional drug chains, Health Insurance Information Centers, Humana, GoHealth, health insurance marketplace, licensed insurance agents, ACA, health insurance education

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Pharmacies are helping patients cope with ACA

October 14th, 2013

NEW YORK – The kickoff of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period has kept community pharmacy chains busy.

Large retailers such as Walmart, CVS Caremark Corp., Walgreen Co. and Rite Aid Corp. as well as such regional drug chains as Navarro Discount Pharmacy are promoting health care coverage in many of their stores.

“We believe we are well prepared to help customers seeking information about new health coverage options during the six-month open enrollment period through our Health Insurance Information Centers in 7,500 stores, nearly 5,000 in-store events featuring health insurance experts, and our online resources,” a spokesman for CVS says, noting that the delays experienced by patients looking to purchase coverage immediately after the enrollment period began had little effect on the company’s efforts.

Just days after the enrollment period began, Walgreens and CVS announced new partnerships to help their customer better understand the health insurance marketplaces.

Walgreens teamed up with Internet-based health information provider GoHealth to offer a mixture of online and telephone services as well as in-store brochures and other ­materials.

CVS partnered with Humana Inc. in an effort that will see the insurer’s representatives in many of CVS’ stores offering shoppers information about their coverage options. In addition, Humana representatives will take part in the weekly Project Health programs CVS holds at 80 stores in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan and Texas.

Meanwhile, Rite Aid has used a variety of tools to assist customers with health care reform questions. Independent, licensed insurance agents have been providing free consultations with customers in nearly 2,000 of the more than 4,600 Rite Aid pharmacies across the country, answering questions and helping patients find the insurance plans that best fits their needs. In addition, all Rite Aid stores are providing information on the ACA.

Navarro, which operates 33 stores in South Florida, is combining its health insurance education efforts with free health screenings to help identify patients’ health risks.