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HHS awards $67M to Health Insurance Marketplace ‘navigators’

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced $67 million in grant awards to 105 navigator grant applicants in federally facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces.

These Navigator grantees and their staff will serve as an in-person resource for Americans who want additional assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace beginning this fall. In addition, HHS recognized more than 100 national organizations and businesses who have volunteered to help Americans learn about the healthcare coverage available in the Marketplace.



“Navigators will be among the many resources available to help consumers understand their coverage options in the Marketplace,” Sebelius stated. “A network of volunteers on the ground in every state — healthcare providers, business leaders, faith leaders, community groups, advocates and local elected officials — can help spread the word and encourage their neighbors to get enrolled.”



Navigators are trained to provide information to consumers about health insurance, the new Health Insurance Marketplaces, qualified health plans and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. 


 

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‘Give with Target’ program to donate $5 million to education

BY Jason Owen

MINNEAPOLIS — Target announced the return of its Give with Target program, through which the company will donate up to $5 million to schools across the country. New this year, Target is inviting its guests to allocate the full donation — double the amount designated by guests last year — to schools of their choice. Give with Target helps ensure that teachers and students have the resources they need to start the new year off right.

The campaign launched Wednesday and guests can visit Target’s Facebook page to vote for a school of their choice once per week. Once a school has received 25 votes, Target will donate $1 per vote, with a maximum donation of $10,000 per school. The campaign runs through Sept. 21, or until the full $5 million has been allocated.

At the end of the campaign, the school that reaches 10,000 votes first or receives the highest number of votes also will receive a special celebration, which will include appearances by members of the Give with Target “Class of 2013,” a live musical performance and more.

“The response to last year’s Give with Target program was overwhelmingly positive, and we are excited to invite our guests to designate $5 million to their schools this year,” said Laysha Ward, president of community relations for Target. “By rallying communities across the country in support of education, Target is playing a role in helping put more kids on the path to high school graduation.”

Target’s guests impacted more than 30,000 schools through the Give with Target program in 2012. Schools that received donations used the funds to purchase classroom resources they needed most, including electronics, school and office supplies and storage/organization products. Give with Target is part of the company’s commitment to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015.


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Walmart tests lockers in D.C. area expanding e-commerce platform

BY Jason Owen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — During Thursday’s second-quarter conference call, Walmart discussed the company’s efforts to expand its e-commerce platform as it recently launched a locker test for site-to-store in Washington, D.C., area.

“While this test is still in the early stages, the initial read on customer satisfaction and acceptance is very encouraging, with 90% of the customers who have used the service providing positive feedback,” said Bill Simon, CEO of Walmart U.S.

CityWire.com also reported that Walmart acknowledged its Walmart.com business has grown steadily as more items being ordered online and shipped to customers’ homes are being fulfilled through the "Ship from Store" program. The company is now using 35 stores as additional hubs in its fulfillment network, according to Neil Ashe, CEO of Walmart global e-commerce. The company hopes these additional stores, particularly its entry into D.C., will give it the leverage it needs to enter into those hard-to-reach markets such as D.C. and New York City.

Additionally, the company’s "Pick Up Today" program is expanding with three times the amount of items offered since the beginning of the year. "Pick Up Today" allows customers to purchase items online and pick it up in a store that same day.

The growth in e-commerce is apparent outside the company. As Retailing Today reported, Walmart hired 200 employees at its Walmart.com San Bruno, Calif., headquarters.

Walmart recently opened one store in Washington, D.C., with plans to open two more stores in the coming weeks. The company could open an additional three stores, but is awaiting a decision from D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on whether he will sign or veto a city council wage law that will require big box retailers to pay a minimum $12 an hour in wages and benefits.


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