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Companies send employees to private health exchanges

September 25, 2013 J

Walgreen Co. is joining a growing push from big businesses to shift more responsibility for finding insurance onto their employees as health care costs continue to climb.

The nation’s largest drugstore chain said Wednesday that it will send workers to a private health insurance exchange where they will pick from as many as 25 plans instead of having the company give them two to four options.

Employers normally pay most of the coverage cost, and Walgreen’s contribution toward the benefit won’t change. It said the move will give its workers more choices and help them become better consumers.

“I think the only way to drive down costs in the health care space is to have the consumer buying the health care be knowledgeable and educated and understand what they are buying,” said Tom Sondergeld, senior director of health and wellbeing for the Deerfield, Ill., company.

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