NCPA: Community pharmacy has historically helped patients as they transition to new health plans
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Following the announcement from several major chains on Thursday that their respective pharmacy operations would provide 30-day prescriptions to newly-enrolled health exchange patients at no charge while they wait for their prescription cards, the National Community Pharmacists Association on Friday announced that many of its constituents have historically adopted similar patient-friendly practices.
“Helping patients sort through new or revised health insurance coverage is business-as-usual for independent community pharmacies year-round, and especially each January," said Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. "Now more than ever that is the case with the advent of these new health plans." he said. “While health plans are the payer of first resort for the newly insured, most independent community pharmacists will provide emergency medication supplies, when appropriate, to their patients confirmed with new insurance coverage through the marketplaces, so that these patients don’t fall through the cracks."
During the 2006 implementation of the Medicare Part D drug benefit, community pharmacists helped patients with emergency supplies thousands of times, Hoey noted. A 2006 survey of more than 500 independent community pharmacists found that more than half (58%) provided 50 or more emergency supplies to seniors during the early days of Part D. Another 21% reported doing so 21 to 50 times.
“Assisting patients as they navigate their health coverage is just one of the ways independent community pharmacies have garnered the highest satisfaction rates from customers in national surveys," Hoey said. "In particular, small business community pharmacies serve many rural areas in which the next closest pharmacy may be 20 miles away or more."
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Medical marijuana social network closes seed-funding deal
DENVER — A new mobile app-driven social network devoted to medical marijuana has attracted $150,000 in seed money from an investment group.
MassRoots announced Thursday that it had closed the seed investment from members of the ArcView Group. The social network, launched in July 2013, has more than 25,000 active users. MassRoots allows users to maintain their privacy and anonymity by not requiring their name, email or phone number to join.
"By creating a network for the cannabis community, MassRoots is connecting tens of thousands of marijuana consumers, building a marketing and distribution channel for legal cannabis and empowering the legalization movement itself," MassRoots cofounder Isaac Dietrich said. "In the process, we are creating a unique and valuable company that will deliver substantial returns to its shareholders."
MassRoots describes itself as an ancillary business that never touches marijuana itself, which it said makes it a less risky investment than a dispensary or grow operation. Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia allow for medical use of marijuana; another, Maryland, does not allow it, but allows medical use as a court defense. Meanwhile, Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational use of marijuana, with Colorado’s law taking effect on Wednesday.
seed money.... grin.
Kroger offers prescriptions to health exchange enrollees who have not received ID cards
CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. has joined the list of retailers offering supplies of prescription drugs at no upfront cost to customers who have enrolled in the health insurance marketplaces, but have yet to receive an identification number.
The company announced Thursday that it would offer up to a 30-day supply of certain prescription drugs to customers who provide confirmation of their enrollment at one of the retailer’s pharmacies.
"Every January, our pharmacists and technicians help customers navigate through new plan transitions," Kroger VP pharmacy Lincoln Lutz said. "Our pharmacists are once again available to answer questions and provide information about the new insurance plans. And, to ensure that our customers can get their medications without interruption, we are offering to fill certain prescriptions at no upfront cost for up to 30 days for customers who’ve signed up for the public health exchanges but have not yet received their plan ID card."
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