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Winn-Dixie to offer health insurance to Florida customers

BY Allison Cerra

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. A Florida-based grocer has partnered with the local Blue Cross Blue Shield to offer its customers health cards.

Winn-Dixie said Wednesday it will offer the program in all 353 of its Florida Winn-Dixie and Save-Rite locations. The program consists of two options: the $59 Gift of Health Care card and $19 FamilyBlue discount card.

The $59 Gift of Health Care card offers a convenient way to buy affordable health insurance. The $59 is applied accordingly to the plan the customer selects during the activation call. The $19 FamilyBlue discount card provides an entire family with discounts on dental, pharmacy and vision care for three months. The FamilyBlue card can pay for itself in just one visit to a provider.

“We are very excited about our partnership with BCBSF and about their Health Card program,” said Mary Kellmanson, Winn-Dixie group VP marketing. “The current economic downturn has left many people without access to healthcare benefits for themselves and their families. This program offers an affordable solution to that critical issue.”

Shoppers will find these cards on a permanent freestanding display unit located in the pharmacy area, and in the cold and flu aisle in stores that do not have a pharmacy. After customers have paid for their card, they can call a BCBSF 1-800 number located on the back of the card to activate it as well as receive their personalized member ID card to take to the doctor.

“Our goal is simple – to provide Floridians with easy access to the healthcare system,” said Craig Thomas, BCBSF VP and chief marketing officer. “This is a completely unique concept for the healthcare industry that allows us to reach a broader audience of uninsured and underinsured who would normally go to their local store to purchase pre-paid and gift cards. Winn-Dixie’s role as the first Florida grocer to carry these cards is a clearly demonstrates their commitment to the health and well being of the communities they serve.”

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Rite Aid completes refinancing of securitization facilities

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Monday successfully completed its previously announced plan to refinance its existing first lien accounts receivable securitization facility and second lien accounts receivable securitization facility due September 2010. As a result of the refinancing, Rite Aid has refinanced all of its September 2010 debt maturities.

As of Oct. 23, 2009, there was $475 million outstanding under the securitization facilities. The refinancing consists of an offering of $270 million aggregate principal amount of 10.25% senior secured notes due 2019 (with a yield to maturity of 10.375%, based on an offering price of 99.242% per note), commitments to increase the maximum borrowing capacity under Rite Aid’s existing senior secured revolving credit facility from $1 billion to $1.175 billion, and an increase in borrowings under Rite Aid’s existing $525 million senior secured term loan due June 2015 by $125 million to $650 million.

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Former Rite Aid executive becomes Value Drug Co. president

BY Michael Johnsen

ALTOONA, Pa. Greg Drew last week joined Value Drug Co. as president, the regional pharmacy wholesaler announced.

Drew most recently served as a consultant through his company Pharmacy Expertise. Prior to founding Pharmacy Expertise, Drew served as VP pharmacy health services for Rite Aid and as GM of Rite Aid Health Solutions.

Drew will be responsible for Value Drug’s long term business development as well as all operations and management of the company, reporting to John L. Letizia, Value Drug chairman and CEO.

Value Drug is a cooperative company providing wholesale drug distribution and various other services to its members.

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