PHARMACY

Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan gets first Medicare beneficiary applicant

BY Michael Johnsen

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Humana and Wal-Mart Stores on Monday announced that Mary Lee Reinscheld became the first Medicare beneficiary to sign up for the new Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan at one of the Humana informational kiosks available in approximately 3,000 Walmart stores nationwide.

 

Reinscheld signed her Humana application at Walmart store No. 1170 here as the annual enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries, including seniors and people with disabilities, got under way.

 

Humana’s new Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, co-branded with Walmart, offers savings on monthly plan premiums and prescription medicine co-payments and cost-shares. The new plan features one nationwide monthly plan premium of $14.80. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan offers the lowest monthly nationwide premium for a stand-alone Part D plan in all 50 states and Washington. The plan can save a typical member an estimated average of more than $450 in 2011 through low premiums, co-payments and cost-shares, the companies calculated.

"As the world’s largest retailer, Walmart is uniquely positioned to help drive down the costs associated with prescription medications," stated John Agwunobi, president of Walmart’s Health and Wellness division. "Our participation in this plan is another example of Walmart’s ongoing commitment to helping customers save money and live better, especially when it comes to providing affordable health care."

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NACDS, NCPA claim pharmacy victory after withdrawal of Medicaid program provisions

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association heralded the withdrawal of two provisions from the Medicaid program that would have had retail pharmacies selling generic drugs at a loss.

 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cut provisions that defined average manufacturer price and determined calculation of federal upper limits. The NACDS and NCPA sued CMS in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in November 2007 to obtain an injunction against the provisions, which the court granted. In response, CMS revised its definition of multiple source drugs in October 2008, though the pharmacy lobby groups amended their lawsuit to block that as well, saying it was still against the law. CMS’ new rule removes that provision as well.

 

 

In a joint statement, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson and NCPA EVP and CEO Kathleen Jaeger heralded the decision, saying the rule would have reduced patients’ access to pharmacies by cutting reimbursements, thus forcing retail pharmacies to sell generic drugs at a loss.

 

 

“We insisted that this policy was not appropriate,” the statement read. “Separately, we also have urged that policy-makers should recognize the ability of pharmacies and pharmacists to help improve health and reduce healthcare costs. We are gratified that this sense is reflected in the pharmacy provisions of the new healthcare-reform law. The new law contains provisions ranging from dramatically reducing the [accelerated manufacturing of pharmaceutical] cuts to advancing medication therapy management, through which pharmacists can help patients take their medications correctly, which is referred to as ‘medication adherence.’”

 

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Roadside announces partnership to further ‘drive’ wellness programs

BY Alaric DeArment

BOSTON Two companies have formed a partnership to provide services for long-haul truck drivers.

 

Sleep HealthCenters and Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab announced a partnership Wednesday to provide sleep medicine services as part of Roadside’s driver-wellness programs.

 

 

Roadside provides medical services, such as Department of Transportation-compliant physicals, drug testing, driver-wellness programs and sleep services for professional drivers on the highway and at company terminals. Sleep HealthCenters will support Roadside’s programs by providing education, professional diagnosis and treatment support, which will be incorporated into the driver-wellness program.

 

 

“You cannot effectively screen, test and treat sleep apnea without addressing and improving drivers’ overall health condition, such as weight, [body-mass index], stress and cardiac strength,” Roadside COO Rob Scheschareg said. “By providing continuous care for drivers for sleep, fitness, health and [Department of Transportation] compliance from the terminal to the highways, Roadside Medical is able to move the needle toward better driver health.”

 

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