You’re in good hands with Walgreens?

One of many RetailWire discussions about new strategic initiatives at Walgreens. This time, it centers on their plan to enter the health insurance market, whether as a “clearinghouse” or as a provider. Here’s my opinion:

I have mixed feelings about this, assuming Walgreens wants to provide a “portal” for consumers to shop from providers like Aetna and Humana rather than underwriting policies itself. On the one hand, this move would strengthen Walgreens’s reach into all things health-care related (along with its acquisition of earlier this year). On the other hand, Walgreens still has a lot of work to do in order to bring greater health-related focus to its brick-and-mortar stores. (Not to mention, making the sorts of physical upgrades you can see at remodeled Duane Reade locations in Manhattan.) Will insurance be a distraction or a reinforcement of the mission?



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