Several retailers are stepping up to ease the transition for newly insured consumers still waiting for their health plan identification numbers under the Affordable Care Act. CVS/pharmacy (NYSE: CVS), Walgreens (Nasdaq:WAG), Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) and Kroger (NYSE: KR) have all promised various benefits to support the continuity of care.
CVS/pharmacy and Kroger say they will assist patients who are experiencing a temporary disruption in insurance coverage with a transitional 15 or 30-day "bridge" supply of medication. For patients who are experiencing financial hardship, they can also apply to receive a bridge supply at CVS in order to prevent disruption in their medication therapy.
Through the end of January, Walgreens says that patients can bring confirmation of their enrollment in the public health insurance marketplace to its pharmacies and receive up to a month of medication at no upfront cost. Rite Aid, too, says it will work with enrolled customers to verify their eligibility and help them utilize their new benefits, even if patients haven't received their new plan identification numbers.
The final phase of the Affordable Care Act took effect Wednesday, January 1, but some consumers who signed up for new health insurance plans in recent weeks are still waiting for information they need to access their benefits. Under the ACA, private health coverage starts for more than 2 million Americans who managed to get through that federal enrollment website or the state-run versions.
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