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Walgreens pledges to help seniors with Medicare enrollment

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens will be offering free, personalized Part D plan comparison reports to help beneficiaries identify the plan that best meets their prescription drug needs, the retail pharmacy operator announced Monday. Plan reviews are available on a walk-in basis or by scheduling an appointment at Walgreens.com/medicare, Walgreens stated.

“The Medicare landscape can be challenging to navigate, and our pharmacists are trusted resources who can help beneficiaries understand their options to make the most informed plan choice,” stated Suzanne Hansen, Walgreens group VP pharmacy operations. “Prescription drug coverage is often times critical for those selecting new plans or evaluating their current plan. It’s helpful for Medicare beneficiaries to understand some of the ways to save on prescription costs through the use of preferred pharmacy networks or other means.”

Walgreens is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and others to help Medicare beneficiaries learn about new benefits available to them under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Walgreens is providing customers a range of educational materials on newly available preventive services, as well as ways to save on prescription drug spending in the “doughnut hole,” or coverage gap. 

In addition, all Take Care Clinics located at select Walgreens are now offering the “Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit” and “Medicare Yearly Wellness Visits.” These wellness services are for Medicare enrollees and include screenings for a number of common conditions, as well as education and counseling to encourage wellness and prevent disease.

Plan comparison reports, available daily at all of the nearly 8,000 Walgreens stores nationwide, are generated from Medicare’s online plan finder. The report details each plan’s estimated annual costs, including monthly premiums, brand and generic co-pays and coverage through the coverage gap.  

Walgreens last week announced it will be a part of preferred pharmacy networks of four national Medicare Part D plan sponsors — Coventry, Humana, SmartD Rx and UnitedHealthcare. In addition to participating in the preferred networks, Walgreens will also be in the network of hundreds of other Medicare prescription drug plans for 2013. 

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Blurred lines between channels and better HBA options will continue to drive dollar store growth

BY Michael Johnsen

 WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — It appears that even when the economy gets back to humming on all cylinders that America’s shopping patterns will have been forever changed, and that’s only going to support dollar store growth for years to come. Clearly, the two biggest competitors in Family Dollar and Dollar General are ramping up store growth all over the country, with the two companies lining up on opposite corners much the way drug chains began had done in the ’80s and ’90s. And dollar store assortments will continue to become better stocked with the name brands consumers are familiar with, particularly in core drug store categories like health and beauty, especially considering the two leading companies have strong drug channel pedigrees throughout the executive suite.  

(THE NEWS: Deloitte: CPG companies not keeping up with explosive growth of dollar channel. For the full story, click here.) 

Just last week, during an Oct. 3 conference call, former drug channel merchant and now Family Dollar president and COO Mike Bloom pointed to the expansion of health, beauty and personal care assortments by about 600 SKUs as one of the key drivers of future growth across the chain. "Our customers are really responding well to the new assortment," he said. "The biggest focus of our recent HBA expansion was in the OTC area. Our customer research indicates that our customers overindexed in 18 of the top 20 ailments affecting the U.S. population. Many of our customers do not have health insurance, so we are providing them with more solutions to take care of themselves and their families. We are encouraged by the early results in these categories, which typically take longer to ramp up."

Family Dollar’s executive chairman and CEO Howard Levine added, "As we look out over the next couple years, particularly with the healthcare changes coming on, it’s something that we’ll pay a lot of attention to in terms of how we may be able to better service some of the markets that we’re in with some additional benefits."

But it’s Dollar General that may be offering the greatest branded savings to consumers, at least according to a recent Kantar survey. As compared to Walmart, Stop & Shop, Family Dollar, Aldi, Target and Walgreens, Dollar General offered an 18% overall basket savings, driven by lower opening price points in its edible and nonedible baskets and representing a substantial savings to the value shopper, which by the time the economy gets back humming again on all cylinders is likely to be the everyday shopper.

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S.1 says:
Oct-20-2012 06:53 am

I visit this first time & it has a very valuable information. & some decent design as well. I would like to appreciate writer's nice effort on topic Blurred lines between channels and better HBA options will continue to drive dollar store growth. Wish u best of luck,, keep on posting

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RediClinic treated its one-millionth patient

BY Antoinette Alexander

HOUSTON — Retail-based clinic operator RediClinic recently hit a milestone as it served its one-millionth patient in August.

“This would not have been possible without the support of our loyal patients, who have embraced our unique model of high-quality, convenient and affordable healthcare," stated RediClinic CEO Web Golinkin in a letter recently emailed patients.

To celebrate the milestone, the email features coupons with 15% off a B-12 shot, $15 dollars off a travel healthy visit and a free body mass index reading.

RediClinic operates 29 clinics inside select HEB stores in Houston, Austin and San Antonio.
 

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