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WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT The news that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida is wading into the retail landscape with the opening of its fourth retail location in Florida is yet one more indication of the important role that convenient care clinics play in today's U.S. healthcare system.
(THE NEWS: Report: BCBS of Florida gets personal. For the full story, click here)
While the BCBS' retail locations are not exactly carbon copies of say a Take Care Clinic or MinuteClinic, they are similar in that they are conveniently located; offer flu shots, physical exams, basic cholesterol tests; and have nurses on staff to treat patients. Sound familiar?
And it has been reported that the most recent Florida Blue location in Tampa, which is currently set up as a customer-service center, could actually evolve into a small clinic.
Rival Humana has also stepped into the field in the past two years with its four retail locations in Florida.
Obviously, insurance companies are increasingly taking notice of the success experienced by the convenient care industry and are embracing the role that clinics play in meeting patients' healthcare needs as health costs soar, physicians find themselves overbooked and emergency rooms overflow.
Serving as yet another indicator of this is news that BCBS of Florida has now contracted with Walgreens' Take Care Health Systems to cover services for members at all Take Care Clinics in the state of Florida.
With the addition of BCBSF, which covers nearly 4 million of Florida's insured population, 80% of insured individuals in the state can visit a Take Care Clinic for the cost of a normal co-payment or co-insurance amount.