Walgreens Enters Medicare Advantage Market in 4 States

Walgreens is launching Medicare Advantage plans with Alignment Healthcare in select markets in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.

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Walgreens and Alignment Healthcare have partnered to offer zero-premium Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in 10 counties across Arizona, California, Florida and Texas next year, pending regulatory approval. 

Alignment will offer the co-branded plans from its portfolio in Arizona's Maricopa, Pima and Santa Cruz counties. In California, the plans will be available in Fresno, Madera and Merced counties. In Florida, it will offer the plans in Clay and Duval counties. In Texas, plans will be offered in El Paso and Hudspeth counties. About 1.6 million Medicare-eligible adults reside across these markets, Alignment said.

Members who enroll in a plan will be able to use their over-the-counter benefits at Walgreens or online through a mail-order provider, Alignment said. The plans offer comprehensive medical and prescription drug coverage including a zero-dollar copay on more than 10,000 prescription drugs, it added. Members will also have access to Alignment’s 24/7 on-demand concierge.

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Medicare-eligible adults will be able to select a plan during the annual open enrollment period, which kicked off on October 15 and runs through December 7. Plan benefits begin in January, Alignment said.

A number of other drug store chains and supermarkets with pharmacies have entered the MA market this year to take advantage of Medicare's open enrollment period. 

These include Meijer, which launched an MA plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan earlier this month. Benefits for the plan also include a zero-dollar monthly premium, as well as zero-dollar annual deductible, primary care visits and copays on many generic prescription drugs. They also include a $660 in-store allowance that can be used to purchase wellness-related items such as vitamins and bandages, Meijer said.

Kroger Health and Select Health, teamed up in August to launch MA plans in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah.

Humana partnered with USAA Life Insurance earlier this year to offer another co-branded MA plan. The companies said their plan is designed for veterans and complements healthcare benefits received through Veterans Affairs. The plan is available for anyone eligible for Medicare in eight states, however, the companies said.

Medicare.gov offers guidance on plans

Medicare pays private companies that it approves to cover Medicare benefits under MA plans, also referred to as “Part C.” There are various MA plans, which cover Medicare hospital insurance (Part A) and medical insurance (Part B).

To find out the types of plans available in your area, visit Medicare.gov or call  1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

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Joey Solitro

Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.