Plus, the latest pharmacy and healthcare news to know this week.
Walgreens Boots Alliance and UnitedHealth Group’s health insurance unit are partnering up to roll out new “UnitedHealthcare Medicare service centers,” opening inside select Walgreens stores in the U.S. The companies announced that 14 service centers are set to open starting January 2020 in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Cleveland, Denver, and Memphis locations.
Why It Matters
As part of the centers’ goal to engage seniors and provide accessible resources, Walgreens customers will be able to learn more about Medicare, discuss UnitedHealthcare plan benefits with staff, and even enroll in plans. UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage members can also make an annual appointment for an in-store wellness visit through UnitedHealthcare’s HouseCalls program, making it easier to receive tests and treatment.
“Through strategic partnerships like this, Walgreens store locations can offer comprehensive services tailored to the specific needs of the communities we serve that are conveniently accessible alongside our pharmacy services,” said Mike Anderson, chief executive of UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Part D business, in a Forbes article.
Amid increasing competition among health insurance companies selling MA plans, it comes as no surprise that UnitedHealthcare is forming a closer tie with a major pharmacy chain like Walgreens. This move also mirrors efforts by other plans and pharmacies to join forces, including Walmart and Humana, and CVS and Aetna. To keep up, other pharmacies, particularly independents, will have to focus on high levels of service and finding creative ways to engage and retain their Medicare customers.
Other Healthcare News to Know
- Amazon’s Alexa can now order prescription refills and remind people to take their medications. GeekWire.
- Companies are becoming increasingly frustrated with the FDA as the agency continues to work on CBD regulations. Stat News.
- The U.S. government is barring federal dollars for opioid addiction treatment from being used on medical marijuana. AP News.
- The White House claims House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug-pricing bill would result in 100 fewer drugs hitting the U.S. market over the next decade. CNBC.
- On Monday, the FDA approved Global Therapeutics’ sickle cell disease drug. Reuters.