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CVS/pharmacy, Aetna intro co-branded Medicare Rx plan

BY Allison Cerra

HARTFORD, Conn. — CVS/pharmacy has teamed up with Aetna to offer Medicare beneficiaries a co-branded prescription drug plan.

The companies said the new Aetna CVS/pharmacy Prescription Drug Plan will be made available to beneficiaries in 43 states and Washington, D.C. The plan offers a $26 monthly plan premium and has no deductible for generic drugs. In addition, members will have the following benefits when they fill their prescriptions at a CVS/pharmacy (compared with a nonpreferred network pharmacy):

  • Pay $3 co-payment for preferred generic prescriptions; and

  • Save $10 on co-payments for nonpreferred generic and preferred brand prescriptions.

Other program features include:

  • 24-hour or extended-hour services and drive-thru pharmacy windows available at most CVS/pharmacy locations;

  • The experience of trained pharmacists available to dispense prescriptions and helpful advice;

  • Care 1on1 pharmacist counseling; and

  • The CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare Health Card, which entitles members to a discount on thousands of over-the-counter CVS/pharmacy brand health-related items.

In addition to CVS/pharmacy locations, members can continue to access any of the more than 65,000 pharmacies in the Aetna Medicare network.

"We are pleased to join with Aetna Medicare to offer Medicare beneficiaries a Part D plan that provides outstanding value along with the ease and convenience of filling their prescriptions at their neighborhood CVS/pharmacy," CVS/pharmacy SVP retail pharmacy Josh Flum said. "This plan allows members to build a relationship with their CVS pharmacist along with the opportunity to realize savings on their prescriptions."

Annual enrollment for Medicare plans begins Oct. 15 and continues through Dec. 7. Medicare beneficiaries can find more information and enroll in these plans by calling Aetna Medicare at 1-800-529-5586, or visiting Aetnamedicare.com or Medicare.gov to enroll.


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What to expect from Bloom, Sansone

BY Rob Eder

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Family Dollar is on a mission to increase traffic to its stores — of which it intends to build twice as many in fiscal 2012 as it did in fiscal 2011 — and grow its market basket. That has meant a growing emphasis on what it considers its consumables business, a substantial portion of which is constituted by health and beauty aids. As part of a long-term strategy to create an improved shopping experience and enhance customer loyalty, it expanded consumables into 5,800 stores over the past year.

(THE NEWS: Mike Bloom resigns from CVS/pharmacy, assumes president, COO role at Family Dollar. For the full story, click here)

With former CVS/pharmacy executive Mike Bloom in charge of operations, merchandising, marketing, global sourcing and supply chain, you can say that the 7,000-store chain has tapped a new leader with considerable experience in these areas. The former EVP merchandising and supply chain turned many heads in drug store retailing as a key architect of CVS’ Project Life prototype store, which set about a trend in the industry of dropping gondola heights to create clearer sight lines to pharmacy, and introducing new way-finding solutions that not only made the stores easier to shop, but enabled customers to shop the stores on their own terms. Working closely with VP beauty care Cheryl Mahoney, Bloom’s vision also helped create store-next-to-a-store prestige beauty concept, Beauty360.

For Family Dollar, you most likely can expect some new variations on store layout and space management, and perhaps even a new iteration of its current prototype as Bloom looks to bring more cache and appeal to the dollar store shopping experience. You also can expect the 30-year drug store veteran to keep the momentum going on the growth of its consumables business, which increased in the most recent sales quarter to nearly 70% of sales, up more than 180 basis points over the same period one year ago.

Meanwhile, back at CVS, Judy Strauss Sansone inherits responsibility for that chain’s merchandising operation. Sansone, a 30-year CVS vet, has had extensive experience in several areas of the business, including operations, purchasing and merchandising. Sansone was a key member of the acquisition-integration teams that brought the former Eckerd and Sav-on/Osco stores into the CVS fold. Importantly, as a merchant, Sansone has meaningful experience in all core components of the front-end, including consumer health, HBA, GM, consumables and photo. Equally important, she is well regarded among the vendor community. But Sansone also has important merchandising in the 30,000-ft.-high-view sense. Most recently, Sansone had been charged with the “go-forward strategy for the merchandising area of the company, which is responsible for retail design, store layout and optimization, and space management,” CVS noted.

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Humana, Walmart offer Medicare Part D prescription drug plan

BY Alaric DeArment

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Humana will offer Medicare Part D beneficiaries a prescription drug plan co-branded with Wal-Mart Stores, the two companies said Monday.

The plan, originally launched in 2010, will be launched again for 2012 and will include savings on monthly plan premiums, prescription drug copayments and cost-shares for beneficiaries.

The Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan offers a monthly plan premium of $15.10, which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated will be the lowest plan premium in 2012 for a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan in the country. Copayments for some generic drugs will be $1 after deductibles, compared with $2 this year, and copayments will be free for prescriptions filled via Humana’s RightSourceRx mail-order prescription service.

The companies said the plan would offer Medicare Part D beneficiaries cost savings and convenience from the preferred pharmacy network of more than 4,000 Walmart, Sam’s Club, Walmart Neighborhood Market and Walmart Express retail pharmacies.


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