The only thing worse than the increase in premiums for my health care insurance is the ominous name of the extended coverage provided by my former employer. The COBRA acronym (based on the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) must have been coined by a sadistic government snake charmer.
Fortunately, Walgreens Co. feels my pain and is now offering a partial solution. Earlier this year, the pharmacy decided to expand their basic immunization offerings, by aggressively providing extended health care services.
The new services, provided by nurse practitioners, will be more than routine care for problems such as sore throats or eye infections. Medical care will also include managing chronic conditions, including high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension. This development will probably alarm my ENT specialist (whose professional advice has been to treat my sinuses with “tender loving care”).
Walgreen’s expansion of its services is being promoted with the new brand name “Healthcare Clinics”. This is a classic marketing strategy to offer a new product/service with a new brand name. The advantage, of course, is if the service is not well received and the new brand fails, the negative effects will hopefully not impact the Walgreens brand.
Renaming their retail clinics, Walgreens says, “better reflects the drugstore chain’s shift to a company providing medical care services.” The change is also timed to coincide with the expected shortage of primary care physicians resulting from more Americans getting health benefits under PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).
So I may soon be eliminating my COBRA costs with the help of PPACA (pee-pack-a?) and Walgreens.