US News: Walgreens is a extending a helping hand to unemployed, uninsured workers and their families, offering to treat minor aches and pains for free at its Take Care clinics in 342 locations in some 30 metro areas.
But there's a catch: To be eligible, workers or their family members have to have visited a Take Care clinic in the past. This is corporate do-goodism with an eye firmly on the bottom line. If you think you may be laid off anytime soon--and who doesn't, these days?--this is a none-too-subtle push to get you to visit a Take Care clinic for that tetanus booster or wart evaluation you've been putting off. Then, if a pink slip does arrive, you're good to go and can take advantage of the free care program. "There are still a lot of people who have no idea these clinics exist, and this will absolutely help raise awareness," says Darren Brandt, a spokesperson for Take Care Health Systems, the Walgreens-owned company that runs the clinics.
In these uncertain times, you may find that your self-interest coincides quite nicely with Walgreens' goal of enticing you into its in-store clinics. If that's the case, that's just fine. Here are details of how the Take Care Recovery Plan works.
The plan covers a range of minor, nonacute ailments that in-store clinics typically treat, from ear and sinus infections to cold sores and athlete's foot. Injuries like minor cuts, burns, and splinters also are eligible for free care. Services not covered by the plan include physicals, wellness exams, and vaccinations. Patients interested in those services would have to pony up the clinic fee for the service, which generally starts at $59.
To participate in the plan, you have to lose your job on or after March 31 and be eligible for federal or state unemployment insurance benefits. The program is open to unemployed adults 19 or older, their spouses or same-sex domestic partners, and their children from 18 months through 18 years of age. The program is slated to run through the end of the year. Here's hoping that's long enough.
Check out my other recent posts about how to get cheaper drugs, take advantage of the subsidy for COBRA health coverage, and strategically use your flexible spending account.
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