Politics & Government

HHS partners with 8 large pharmacies to promote marketplace enrollment

The Obama administration is partnering with eight large pharmacy chains to help promote and publicize the nation’s health insurance marketplaces during the 2015 open enrollment period.

The participating retailers, whose outlets encompass every state, are Ahold USA Companies, Bi-Lo Holdings, CVS Health, H-E-B, Kroger, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart.

Store pharmacists are prepared to answer basic questions about the marketplaces and will direct customers to additional assistance through HealthCare.gov, its call center and local advisors who can provide in-person assistance.

Thousands of participating stores will feature special brochures, advertisements and other marketing materials to help consumers get enrolled into coverage for next year. In-store enrollment events are also being planned across the country.

"Connecting our customers with informative and accessible resources about the health insurance options in their community aligns with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health,” said Helena Foulkes, President of CVS/pharmacy. “ As part of that effort, we are making health insurance experts available at more than 5,300 events in CVS/pharmacy stores across the country to answer customer questions and help them understand if they are eligible for lower insurance costs through the Marketplace."

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said pharmacies and pharmacists are natural partners to help the department increase awareness about the marketplaces.

“These collaborations are integral to getting information directly to consumers from trusted health care providers in their communities,” Burwell said in a statement.

The collaboration is the latest effort to get the word out about the second marketplace enrollment period that runs from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15, 2015.

Earlier this month, HHS announced that it would provide information on key Affordable Care Act deadlines on all PayNearMe purchase receipts printed at nearly 8,000 7-Eleven stores nationwide.

An electronic cash transactions company, PayNearMe, allows those without bank accounts and other financially underserved consumers to conveniently pay utility bills, rent and repay loans at 7-11 stores.

“Banked or unbanked, cash or plastic - no matter what your preference, everyone can benefit from affordable health care,” said a statement from Danny Shader, PayNearMe’s founder and chief executive officer. “By partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services, we can help generate awareness of this open enrollment process among consumers.”