Walgreens Healthcare Decision a Study in Employee Communications


Image: Phillip Pessar

Image: Phillip Pessar

It was widely reported today that Walgreens is moving 120,000 employees to a private health insurance exchange from coverage that’s provided directly from carriers.

In other words, Walgreens is giving its workers a fixed amount of money to spend at a private insurance exchange (rather than provide insurance through a company plan) in an effort to reduce the company’s burgeoning healthcare costs.

Jill Schlesinger, a CBS News analyst, explained the move: "They're saying, Well, it costs the same amount of money for the company today, but by giving you a fixed amount of money, it protects them against rising healthcare costs in the future."

Walgreens' decision, which earned the company The Wall Street Journal headline "Walgreen to Give Workers Payments to Buy Health Plans," isn't viewed as a generous adjustment by others.

Tom Murphy, from The Huffington Post, issued the following point: "Workers who use these exchanges can wind up paying a bigger share of the insurance bill for their coverage over time if the contribution from their company doesn't climb to keep up with insurance costs or the worker doesn't chose a cheaper plan."

So is Walgreens a progressive company following in the steps of 17 other businesses (including Time Warner, International Business Machines (IBM) and Sears Holding)? Or is it an insensitive retailer attempting to cut corners at the cost of its employees? The way this message comes across is in the hands of Walgreens’ PR team. Regardless of your political bent, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Follow Lucia Davis: @LKCDavis.




Comments Off

avatar

About Lucia Davis

Lucia Davis is community editor for PR News. Prior to returning to NYC, she was associate editor at iMedia Connection in Culver City, CA. In addition to PR News and iMedia, Lucia's writing has appeared in minonline, "The Minetta Review," "EQUITIES Magazine," and "The Foothills Paper."



Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' PR Measurement Conference

 prnews-measurement-conf-175x135-static

Join us on November 20, 2014, for PR News’ essential PR Measurement Conference, taking place at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Commit now to grounding all of your PR efforts in metrics that connect to organizational goals and prove value that communications makes in thriving b2c and b2b companies, nonprofits and professional associations.

Use code “150off” at checkout.

Get $50 off PR News' Media Relations Guidebook


book-mediarelations-180x150

This 8-chapter resource contains practical implications for some of the most innovative developments in media relations, including the technologies, methodologies and mannerisms that determine the ecosystem in which PR pros practice this essential part of their craft.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.