Many visits to the new online health insurance exchanges, launched Oct. 1, have been marked by head scratches, eye rolls and overall feelings of exasperation as Americans attempt to shop for coverage and find out if they qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
Even after successfully navigating several login pages and technical glitches, some are met with an inability to find out which doctors are included in a particular plan’s network, as certain state exchanges link to company websites that limit network directory searches to policyholders.
But over at Hannaford’s new “Healthy Living Center”  in its Albany store, it’s been a different scenario entirely as visitors to the facility — featuring free access to fitness equipment and classes, personal lockers and showers — engage in one-on-one consultations with representatives of CDPHP (Capital District Physicians Health Plan), a physician-founded, non-profit area-insurer. CDPHP, Hannaford and Capital District YMCA are funding the facility and donating resources like dietitians and exercise class instructors.
CDPHP’s certified application counselors are also on-hand to answer questions about what Obamacare will mean for shoppers; sign them up on the exchange when appropriate; and help them weigh their coverage options by considering price and whether they’ll be able to keep their current doctors under a particular plan.
The service has been well received in urban Albany where the need for health coverage is especially great. “People are coming down and asking questions because there is a lot of confusion about the Affordable Care Act,” spokeswoman Ali Skinner told SN. The insurer is also selling subsidized policies to shoppers who wouldn’t have otherwise sought coverage.
The benefits to CDPHP are obvious, but Hannaford wins too, as more shoppers with insurance equate to more patients and prescriptions for the retailer’s full-service pharmacy.
Read more: Hannaford Is One-Stop Healthy Living Shop 
Hannaford’s holistic approach not only includes diet, exercise and health coverage, but free pharmacist-led medication therapy management, which focuses, in part, on prescription compliance.
True, not all stores have the space or resources for a set-up as elaborate as Hannaford’s, but as the marketplace braces for an influx of 30 million previously uninsured Americans, retailers should at least ask themselves if they’re doing all they can to prepare.
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