Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) has recently come under fire from some doctor's groups for offering Alzheimer's tests in 4,000 of its stores. Many are claiming that the tests should be given in a proper medical setting.
Walgreen (NASDAQ:WBA) is aggressively increasing its footprint of health care clinics and is even experimenting with telehealth, with investments in companies like MedAvail. CVS and Walgreen are also both aggressively signing partnerships with hospitals and other health care providers.
What these disparate events have in common
They show how these retail pharmacies are transforming. People are beginning to visit to have prescriptions written, not just filled. They're beginning to seek actual health care in these pharmacies.
And why? Well, there are a number of reasons. But one of them is the desire to save money due to high deductible insurance plans -- many of which were purchased on Obamacare exchanges. With more people getting insurance, or enrolling in Accountable Care Organizations -- another Obamacare policy that has grown far beyond its original Medicare focus -- retail clinics look increasingly attractive to consumers and health systems.
And that's why all three companies have gotten aggressive about expanding them. CVS plans to open 150 new clinics this year, an aggressive addition to a footprint of 800 at the end of 2013. Rite Aid, the slowest to adopt retail clinics, bought RediClinic earlier this year and, as CEO John Standley noted in a press release, retail clinics "will play an important role in Rite Aid's overall health and wellness strategy."
In this video, from Where The Money Is, the Motley Fool's investing show, health care analysts Michael Douglass and David Williamson lay out the opportunities with these three stocks and how Obamacare is fundamentally changing the way we think about pharmacies.