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Walgreens Going to Sell Health Insurance? Data Information Connections Are Alive to Mine for Potential Premiums Rates & Chronic

Posted Aug 09 2011 3:16pm

To be fair here it is neither confirmed or denied by Walgreens as the article states but again we have to once again look at subsidiary actions by insurers and others in healthcare today as you missing the boat if you overlook the action taking place with mergers and acquisitions.  Walgreens a while back came out and stated that their data selling business is worth just under $800 million so being a data base person would some of the available data be used to help solicit consumers?  I think this is a good question to ask.  You can look at the data sharing going on currently with United Healthcare here with looking to find patients “at risk” and how in some locations the pharmacists are on some type of a pay for performance program from United.  I don’t this is country wide yet but last I recall reading Atlanta was the latest area to where this program was rolled out. 

UnitedHealthCare To Use Data Mining Algorithms On Claim Data To Look For Those At “Risk” of Developing Diabetes – Walgreens and the YMCA Benefit With Pay for Performance Dollars to Promote and Supply The Tools
United Healthcare Expanding Diabetes Prevention & Predictive Algorithm Program With Walgreens And Pay for Performance Incentives In Atlanta

Here’s an example of one company who makes money selling prescription data, a subsidiary of United.  The reference here is Ingenix but the new name falls under the Optum division.  You can read more about Ingenix MedPoint here.There’s also a flash presentation where you can view the process here.

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“By increasing understanding of potential disease conditions and relative risk, MedPoint enables underwriters to more accurately project future claims costs on a case-by-case basis.”

It seems like this would be a “data fit” to have information available and enable the selling of insurance policies perhaps?  it does get confusing today on exactly where to shop for insurance and other related healthcare items with the steroid marketing and everyone wanting to be a one stop shop.  Fox news a while back even got confused about having a pap smear at Walgreens too which Steven Colbert did a really funny take on.

Efforts on retail drug marketing has not gone without notice on the privacy end of things with lawsuits being filed against both Walgreens and competitor CVS too.

Walgreens And CVS Accused of Selling Customer Prescription Data in 2 Separate Law Suits-Sales for Marketing Data Continues and the Data Bases Gets Larger with Technology

You have to kind of wonder how would a retail drug store chain solicit a consumer for health insurance as they have a lot of data that does not fall under HIPAA and would they use this to run some algorithms and queries to find a policy they feel would best fit your needs?  One thing I think for sure is that they might be able to identify those who would give you issues with current chronic medical conditions though.  I just see all this data flying all over the place with web based services collecting all kinds of information and as I stated below, forget the web based application, I want the data directly to my PHR for privacy purposes as you really don’t know what happens at the web level with each vendor. 

One other option comes to mind too with the purchase of Drug Store.com and I wonder if the site would also become a potential store front for insurance?  That’s just a guess on my part but again thinking of all the data that’s out there to be connected, analyzed and all the risk assessments going on today. 

Walgreens To Buy Drugstore.Com for $409 Million

For right now until we hear otherwise this is just something in the news today and time will tell if you can check out at the cash register or purchase your health insurance online maybe, and of course, will be there be coupons for this purchase too as those collect tons of data as well?  The days of the insurance brokers too seem to be getting slimmer too with making many transactions at the retail level and this means fewer jobs in this area as well when they can’t compete.  One thing for sure mentioned in this article is the opinion of the investment bankers stating they feel this is the way to go so how would one handle a claim issue?  Could consumers bring a claim to that to the Walgreen’s counter to dispute?  

If this doesn’t bring enough money into the till, well there’s always booze <grin>.  But wait, if you buy your booze at Walgreens and the records show in excess of what tolerance would be, how would that affect your premiums?  Point made here is all the data mining available about you at the retail levels today and why it is just under an $800 million dollar business today.  BD   

Walgreens Applying For and Getting Liquor Licenses Across the US – Be Healthy and Get Your Alcohol Here Too

Walgreens neither confirmed nor denied the move. "As always, we're looking at a number of options in light of health care reform as we continue to seek ways to help our customers better navigate today's health care system," a Walgreens spokesman said.

Health reform mandates the creation of federal and state-funded public health insurance exchanges by 2014 that will offer subsidized insurance for uninsured and underinsured people.

A rush of companies, many not usually associated with health insurance, are also expected to jump into the nascent but lucrative market for health insurance exchanges -- estimated to be worth billions of dollars -- ahead of 2014.

TripleTree, an investment banking firm focused on the health care and technology market, estimates that from 2014 through 2019, as many as 36 million consumers will buy their health insurance from exchanges.

"For retailers, [creating a private insurance exchange] is a way to generate more revenue from a new business," Chris Hoffman, TripleTree's chief marketing officer, said.


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