Walgreen Co. has launched an awareness campaign with health insurer Coventry Health Care to educate employers in select market areas about how they can maintain employee access to the chain's pharmacy services.


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Walgreens, Coventry kick off awareness campaign

November 11th, 2011

NEW YORK – Walgreen Co. has launched an awareness campaign with health insurer Coventry Health Care to educate employers in select market areas about how they can maintain employee access to the chain's pharmacy services.

The campaign, unveiled Friday, includes print and radio advertisements and outreach to employers whose current health plans won't include Walgreens' approximately 7,800 drug stores nationwide in their 2012 pharmacy networks.

Because of a contract impasse, Walgreens plans to end its participation in the pharmacy provider network of pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Inc. starting on Jan. 1, 2012. Since announcing that plan, the drug chain has reached out to employers and payers to spell out options they can take "to move forward with Walgreens" after that date.

In the campaign with Coventry, Walgreens is involved in campaigns with Coventry units in Georgia, including Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah; New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La.; and Richmond, Va., as well as with Coventry subsidiaries Altius Health Plans in Boise, Idaho, and HealthAmerica in Pittsburgh.

Coventry said it is offering employer groups and all other customers in those markets continued access to Walgreens' pharmacy network in 2012, including all 24-hour pharmacy locations and drive-thru locations. The campaign is intended to inform local employers that workers who select Coventry as their health insurer will have Walgreens in their pharmacy networ.

Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreens, noted that the pharmacy chain and Coventry "have a strong relationship that makes pharmacy services convenient and accessible for patients and customers" in those communities. "This relationship gives employers the opportunity to best serve their employees with comprehensive network access to the pharmacy providers who can help patients stay healthy," Crawford said in a statement.

According to Coventry, employers who offer health plans with pharmacy networks in 2012 that don't include Walgreens may have workers facing disruptions in pharmacy care, since prescriptions filled at the chain in 2012 won't be covered under their plan's in-network benefit. That might mean employees would have to transfer prescriptions to another pharmacy that may be less convenient than Walgreens or pay for the entire cost of the prescription up front, the health insurer said, adding that in some cases employers without Walgreens in their pharmacy network could end up paying higher overall medical costs.

"Coventry knows that metro Atlanta employers want their employees to have convenient access to the pharmacy of their choice. Walgreens offers among the most convenient pharmacy locations in the Atlanta area," stated Tom Davis, chief executive officer of Coventry Health Care of Georgia. "Coventry recognizes the importance of including Walgreens in our pharmacy network, and we want Atlanta employers and consumers to know they have a choice with Coventry."

Last month, Coventry announced that Walgreens — along with Walmart and Target Corp. — have signed on as preferred pharmacy providers for a new Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit plan that it's offering, called the First Health Value Plus PDP.

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