WARMINSTER, Pa. — ShopRite shoppers here are navigating the federally run Health Insurance Marketplace with assistance from an on-site hospital concierge, under the store's Health Connections by Doylestown Hospital program.
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As part of ShopRite of Warminster's partnership with nearby Doylestown Hospital, the concierge refers interested shoppers to area doctors, health services and programs and coordinates free skin cancer, blood pressure and blood sugar screenings. Now she also helps them navigate the health insurance exchange.
"She's not a doctor or a nurse but a dedicated professional," explained Wakefern spokeswoman Elisabeth Loeb. "She can advise [patients] and help them navigate the maze of the [exchange] and what benefits they’re eligible for, but she can’t tell them which [health insurance] plan is the best."
The health concierge is undergoing training to become a certified navigator, according to Loeb. Navigators are paid by the government to educate consumers about how to apply for subsidies on the online exchange and assist them through the process. They do not work on commission and can’t favor any one insurer or be paid by insurers.
Read more: ShopRite Store Features Hospital Concierge
Pennsylvania is one of 36 states using the federally run Health Insurance Marketplace.
Presently, the concierge is visited by several hundred customers a week.
"It's become a quite popular service in our community," said store operator Joseph Cowhey.
So popular, in fact, that Doylestown Hospital has expressed interest in expanding the partnership to include an in-store clinic.
"They want to expand their outreach into the community," Cowhey said.
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