Getting your prescriptions has never been easier, as drug stores like Walgreens offer curbside, drive-thru, and in-store pickup. But actually heading into a Walgreens also means you can grab some daily necessities or treat yourself to an impulse buy like nail polish or a bath product. These stores make it fun just to wander the aisles, and now, Walgreens wants to give customers even more reason to stop at their local pharmacy. Read on to find out what major change Walgreens is implementing at 100 U.S. stores, and how you might be able to take advantage of it.
Walgreens has recently made headlines.
Walgreens is a household name, and when changes or warnings are announced, chances are you want to pay attention. In June, both Walgreens and CVS issued a warning to shoppers about a tampon shortage, after customers were having difficulty finding their preferred products on the shelves. Walgreens told USA Today on June 8 that retailers were experiencing "some temporary brand-specific shortages in certain geographies," instructing customers to double-check product inventory on its website.
And more recently, Walgreens also spoke about another impending shortage, this time affecting emergency contraceptives. In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, many were stockpiling over-the-counter (OTC) products like Plan B and Aftera, commonly referred to as "morning after pills." And while some retailers were introducing purchasing limits to control for the increased demand, Walgreens took a different approach. As reported by The Washington Post on June 28, Walgreens confirmed that they were still able to supply emergency contraceptives in-store and had plans to restock online inventory.
Now, Walgreens is in the news again, for a very positive initiative.
Walgreens has set new plans in motion for customers in certain states.
If you've stopped into your local Walgreens, you may have noticed something new—Health Corners.
This new model is part of Walgreens' efforts to help members of certain health insurance plans get questions about their healthcare answered, without needing an appointment or a copay. At these locations, you can talk openly with pharmacists and registered nurses—known as Health Advisors—about your healthcare. According to a June 21 press release from Walgreens, several different services are offered at Health Corners, including preventive care, wellness checks, and assistance with chronic condition management.
The locations were first piloted in Tennessee in 2020, and according to a June 30 report on the company's third-quarter results for the 2022 fiscal year, Walgreens has established a total of 56 Health Corners to date. But plans have grown, and the retailer anticipates increasing the number of Health Corner locations to 100 by the end of this year.
You might be seeing a Health Corner in your hometown.
Currently, Health Corners are located in California and New Jersey, but Ohio will be the next on the list to benefit from Walgreens' services. The company has not yet released where the rest of the 100 Health Corners will be, but they plan to reach that number by the end of the year.
As reported by Forbes, Walgreens partnered with Buckeye Health Plan, an Ohio Medicaid insurer, back in June. As a result of the partnership with Buckeye—which is the third health plan that Walgreens is working with—five new Health Corner locations will open in Walgreens stores throughout the northeast neighborhoods of Ohio. These locations are set to be operational by the end of the summer, the press release from Walgreens confirmed, effectively increasing Health Corner access to a total of 2.3 million patients.
"Walgreens Health Corners are breaking down barriers and expanding access to much-needed healthcare, advice and services for our Medicaid members right in their neighborhoods," Steve Province, Buckeye Health Plan CEO, said in the press release. "This collaboration opens the door to highly personalized, quality care given by trusted local healthcare professionals. It's a major innovation that perfectly aligns with Buckeye's vision to transform the health of the community, one person at a time."
Health Corner services will be free for members of the Buckeye Health Plan, just as it is for Clover Medicare members in New Jersey and Blue Shield of California members.
You can still visit Health Corners even if you aren't a health plan member.
Walgreens confirmed that "everyone is welcome" at Health Corner locations, meaning you can take advantage of some offerings, even if you aren't a member of the insurance plans the company partners with.
According to the pages outlining services in California and New Jersey, you can seek out a health corner for questions about nutrition, sleep and skincare, OTC vitamins and supplements, as well as assistance with setting up different health devices.
However, eligible members of the select health plans have exclusive access to blood pressure and body mass index (BMI) checks, as well as blood sugar tests, screenings for select conditions, and flu shots. And in addition, members can take advantage of the Walgreens Health Corner app. With this feature, members can download and create an account, then use it to find Health Corner locations, make an appointment with a Health Advisor, and review recommended wellness checks.
But non-members can find some comfort in knowing that Walgreens is working to make service more available, noting that it is "continually working to expand both our services and eligibility."