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Walgreens Selling Health Insurance? The Question Still Rambles On and Which One Would They Sell First? United? Both Already Ha

Posted Oct 10 2011 2:20am

Everyone is looking to improve profits every which way they can and of course behind the scenes is the enticing dollar enriched data selling business that seems to be pushing a lot of this as who doesn’t want to rake in millions like Facebook does with selling data? To be fair, drug stores though have been selling prescription data for a long time, but this has take a new twist over the last few years too and the prospect of a drug rep having access is nothing compared to the money being made.  As a matter of fact the CFO of Walgreens said a while back that their “data selling” business was worth just under $800 million, that’s a lot of money and the idea of combining and analyzing retail purchases along with adding on the prescription data leaves a ton of data to be marketed to those who are paying for it. 

You wonder sometimes is providing drugs a secondary interest as they need to sell drugs to get the data right?  Profit margins on data are huge as they don’t have to stock it, order the drugs from a pharmaceutical company, just collect from the data scraping and other tools out there to mine the information.  United has a plan in place in some areas in the US to where the pharmacists can earn pay for performance for signing people up in programs such as the YMCA and others, and this brings more data into play and of course as a consumer it is something that is healthy of course, but they make money, bottom line.  The analytics end of United, Optum, formerly known as Ingenix is one of the companies that has been selling prescription data for years. 

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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.”

“The prevention arm will use UnitedHealth claims data and other demographic information to flag people at risk of developing diabetes and invite them to a free, 16-session exercise and nutrition class at a local YMCA. They’ll have monthly follow-up after the class is over, and instructors will be paid bonuses if participants meet certain modest weight-loss goals.”

I thought this article was interesting too about how pay for performance is not all it has cracked up to be as folks seem to making money at some part of this but no better outcomes…hmmm….report from Harvard. 

Pay For Performance Is Not All That It Has Cracked Up to Be-Time to Rethink As Money Is Not Creating Better Health Outcomes

If these areas don’t bring in more money, well there’s always alcohol and how does that play into better care <grin> 

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

I don’t know what the chances would be with selling Blue Cross insurance since as of the first of the year unless anything changes, consumers won’t be able to fill their prescriptions at Walgreens. 

Anthem Blue Cross Members Will No Longer Be Able to Fill Prescriptions at Walgreens After January 1, 2012

Granted this has to do with the pharmacy benefit management end of things with Express Scripts as they don’t have the retail sales data to add to prescription data to create information rich “behavioral analytics” to sell, they just have data and any information they gather with conversing with consumers so the retail folks have truckload of data to include every bottle of wine, candy bar or what ever you may purchase in the store to relate to your medications…think about that folks as all are aggregating and selling data today and don’t think they aren't.  If you are filling a prescription for diabetes, they can match it to that package of M and Ms you buy a the same time or any other time in the store.

We have too many folks today creating markets where they really do not exist and some of the numbers we see are just for that, marketing and data gets mismatched and abused and ends up taking away for profit.  A good example of an over sell this this circus with FICO that I hope someone calls them on it with using your credit score and other data to determine if you will take your medications and they are selling this to pharma and insurance companies with scoring you. 

Hell, even the algorithm that Netflix uses to determine what you will like is only 60% on target so look at what a fleecing this is with misuse of numbers.  Listen to the audio at the link below and all of this will become clear to you and make you think about how numbers are used for profit and are not always what they seem to be, the dirty algorithms.  there’s a link to the FICO story there and you can read all about this abuse of data and how it will affect you. 

“Numbers Don’t Lie, But People Do”–Radio Interview from Charles Siefe–Journalists Take Note, He Addresses How Marketing And Bogus Statistics Are Sources of Problems That Mislead the Public & Government

Speaking of FICO and their fleecing the public algorithms, check this out, they just hired  a new director and where did he come from, you guessed it, United Healthcare.  Getting a big name on board in healthcare will help defend those bogus algorithms maybe, either that or open doors to sell those medication compliant bogus algorithms to someone where they can convince there is a market for it and I hope pharma is smart enough to bow out on that sale. 

Are  you getting the picture yet on how this is all intertwined here for profit, the stuff that the protesters are occupying Wall Street to bring this to light.   

So time will tell if Walgreens starts selling insurance but big big question, can you go into the store to settle a claim dispute?  OH yes that should definitely be part of the plan if one is going to be full service here and offer exchange services.  I think we would all save a lot of money and be much better off with a “tech company” doing this since the insurance exchanges and their existence and creation is all based on a strong IT infrastructure that HHS keeps handing grants out to help states get set up.  Let eBay do it as they have a platform that could do it as far as selling and price comparing. 

Well they all must have some really expensive anti-trust attorneys on staff is about all I can say and one more comment here, did you know that United created a new subsidiary to be in the medical devices business?  I call these articles “subsidiary watch” as everyone is oblivious as to how they work behind the scenes with data and intelligence today and it’s a sleeper so I hope all wake up soon as those algorithms along with very little awareness allows them to function and take over.  This appears to be their first big step with devices since acquiring China Gate a couple of years ago and who knows what drugs or biotech will be next and they could theoretically control the whole process of introduction to the FDA all the way to MD reimbursement as they have subsidiaries that can all the work, again subsidiary watch ….please.  So who knows, if Walgreens decides to sell insurance maybe United will be the first insurance they would sell, as collaboration and profit efforts are already in place in some areas between the 2.  BD 

Imagine walking into your corner drugstore to pick up aspirin, toothpaste and individual health insurance .

That day might not be so far away. Walgreens reportedly may enter the health insurance marketplace this fall, selling a variety of health plans at a variety of price points, although the company has not confirmed such reports.

Walgreens' possible entrance into the health insurance market is a result of a health care reform legislation mandate that will establish health insurance exchanges to offer coverage options. The exchanges must be in place by Jan. 1, 2014.

Ankeny Minoux, president of the nonprofit Foundation for Health Coverage Education, speculates that companies are holding off making announcements about plans to enter the health insurance arena because the formal rules under which they would operate haven't been established yet.


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