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Walgreens to Open Senior Care Centers With Humana

Walgreens (WBA) will open care centers focused on senior citizens within some of its stores in partnership with health insurer Humana, (HUM) the latest illustration of how pharmacies are trying to become health care hubs and not just mere stores.

The drugstore chain, owned by Walgreens Boots Alliance, said it would open two such senior care centers in its stores this fall in Greater Kansas City, offering primary care services and the availability of a Humana representative to answer customers’ questions about Medicare. Humana will operate the centers as part of its Partners in Primary Care business, which has four centers in Kansas City.

With archrival CVS Health (CVS) expected to close on its $69 billion acquisition of Aetna later this year, Walgreens has faced pressure to make its own moves to boost its position in the healthcare sector beyond filling drug prescriptions. The tie-up with Humana could position Walgreens to win more business from senior citizens, an increasingly large cohort as baby boomers move into old age, with older Gen Xers not that far behind.

“With this new initiative, we can expand the care for seniors that our pharmacists and other team members have provided for decades,” Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina said in a statement.

Walgreens operates some walk-in clinics but those are more general in orientation and not designed for frequent visits. And the company has already been adding more health care services to its stores, adding LabCorp testing services to more locations this spring. CVS is expected to carve out space at many of its drugstores to make them more like health care centers following the Aetna deal close.

“This unique partnership supports Humana’s multi-faceted approach to health care in this community and is a continuation of our senior-focused care strategy,” said Humana CEO Bruce Broussard.

Humana and Walgreens said they could expand this partnership into other areas and with a view to increase access to healthcare around the clock and online.