Content about Healthcare in the United States

October 18, 2011

To date, Walgreens and Express Scripts in the past month have navigated three one-off deals that will keep Walgreens' more than 7,800 pharmacies in the ESI pharmacy network, but the U.S. Department of Defense's Tricare does not look likely to become one-off deal No. 4, according to published reports.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — To date, Walgreens and Express Scripts in the past month have navigated three one-off deals that will keep Walgreens' more than 7,800 pharmacies in the ESI pharmacy network, but the U.S. Department of Defense's Tricare does not look likely to become one-off deal No. 4, according to published reports.

October 17, 2011

With the congressional “super-committee” inching closer to making budget decisions to reduce the deficit, the National Community Pharmacists Association announced on Monday that it has developed two new advertisements reinforcing how local pharmacists can reduce federal healthcare costs.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — With the congressional “super-committee” inching closer to making budget decisions to reduce the deficit, the National Community Pharmacists Association announced on Monday that it has developed two new advertisements reinforcing how local pharmacists can reduce federal healthcare costs.

October 17, 2011

In an effort to continue serving the U.S. Department of Defense's Tricare pharmacy program in 2012, Walgreens has offered a new proposal to Express Scripts.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — In an effort to continue serving the U.S. Department of Defense's Tricare pharmacy program in 2012, Walgreens has offered a new proposal to Express Scripts.

In what it calls "an ironclad guarantee," Walgreens said that the drug store chain's prices would match or beat the average costs per adjusted prescription of all other pharmacies in the Tricare network. Walgreens added that it will produce savings for the program "without disrupting beneficiaries’ choice of a network pharmacy provider."

October 14, 2011

Rite Aid said its pharmacists will be ready to help patients and caregivers choose the prescription drug plan that works best for them as 2012 Medicare Part D open enrollment begins Saturday.

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid said its pharmacists will be ready to help patients and caregivers choose the prescription drug plan that works best for them as 2012 Medicare Part D open enrollment begins Saturday.

Open enrollment is beginning a month earlier than in previous years so that Medicare administrators can process plan choices before the new year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

October 4, 2011

The National Community Pharmacists Association is recommending several ways for reducing Medicare Part D fraud, waste and abuse to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee, the group said Tuesday.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association is recommending several ways for reducing Medicare Part D fraud, waste and abuse to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee, the group said Tuesday.

October 3, 2011

Coventry Health Care on Saturday announced that it has partnered with Walgreens, Walmart and Target for 2012 to offer a Medicare prescription drug plan known as First Health Value Plus.

BETHESDA, Md. — Coventry Health Care on Saturday announced that it has partnered with Walgreens, Walmart and Target for 2012 to offer a Medicare prescription drug plan known as First Health Value Plus.

As Coventry’s newest Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, First Health Value Plus is the lowest premium, zero-dollar deductible Part D plan in the United States, the company stated.

October 3, 2011

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

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):

October 3, 2011

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

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.

September 22, 2011

A congressman from Texas is urging the Department of Health and Human Services to reject an attempt by the Texas state government to move millions of Medicaid prescription drug beneficiaries into managed care plans.

WASHINGTON — A congressman from Texas is urging the Department of Health and Human Services to reject an attempt by the Texas state government to move millions of Medicaid prescription drug beneficiaries into managed care plans.

Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, head of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation, said the move would harm small pharmacies that cater to Medicaid beneficiaries and leave many patients without access to pharmacy services by reducing pharmacy dispensing fees to far below the average pharmacy's cost of dispensing each prescription.

September 20, 2011

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has named Hy-Vee's specialty pharmacy division its preferred provider of specialty pharmacy benefits for members, Hy-Vee said.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has named Hy-Vee's specialty pharmacy division its preferred provider of specialty pharmacy benefits for members, Hy-Vee said.

Starting Oct. 1, Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions will provide services to Wellmark members with disease states requiring such complex drug regimens as cancer, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease and others.

September 15, 2011

The use of over-the-counter medicines as a cost savings tool is catching on, of all places, at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — The use of over-the-counter medicines as a cost savings tool is catching on, of all places, at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Certain plans under Medicare are utilizing a new prepaid card of sorts to allow members to pay for their OTC medicines. Medicaid administrators, meanwhile, are employing that same card to incentivize healthier behavior among its members.

September 15, 2011

A value-based benefits project saved a group of employers in Kansas City, Mo., nearly $11 million in direct healthcare costs.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A value-based benefits project saved a group of employers in Kansas City, Mo., nearly $11 million in direct healthcare costs.

The Kansas City Collaborative, or KC2, launched a project focused on giving employees and their dependents access to better health information, reducing barriers to preventive care, engaging them in reducing health risks and accessing earlier treatment of chronic disease. Led by the Mid-America Coalition on Health Care, the project included 15 local employers and about 400,000 area employees and their dependents.

September 13, 2011

Walgreens, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Tuesday announced the kick-off of the Million Hearts Initiative, a public and private sector initiative to help prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Tuesday announced the kick-off of the Million Hearts Initiative, a public and private sector initiative to help prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years.

September 9, 2011

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is calling on Congress to scrutinize the proposed merger of pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco and, in a letter submitted Friday to the House of Representatives Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, outlined the “problems” it believes would result from the mega-merger.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is calling on Congress to scrutinize the proposed merger of pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco and, in a letter submitted Friday to the House of Representatives Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, outlined the “problems” it believes would result from the mega-merger.

The House panel held a hearing Friday titled “Health Care Industry Consolidation.”

September 9, 2011

The release of the “2010 Census Report and Salary Report,” which indicated that the number of practicing physician assistants has tripled in the past 10 years is important to note, especially as the convenient care clinic model continues to expand.

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The release of the “2010 Census Report and Salary Report,” which indicated that the number of practicing physician assistants has tripled in the past 10 years is important to note, especially as the convenient care clinic model continues to expand.

(THE NEWS: Study: Physician assistant workforce reaches record high. For the full story, click here)

September 8, 2011

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced on Thursday that it issued a letter calling on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to urge collaboration with community pharmacy in developing solutions to curb healthcare costs, while at the same time maintaining patient access to prescription medications and pharmacy services.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced on Thursday that it issued a letter calling on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to urge collaboration with community pharmacy in developing solutions to curb healthcare costs, while at the same time maintaining patient access to prescription medications and pharmacy services.

Highlighting the accessibility of local pharmacists, the letter urged improved medication adherence as key to improved health and reduced costs.
 

September 5, 2011

The U.S. Department of Justice may have once and for all exposed the man behind the curtain, revealing many online Canadian pharmacies for what they really are: drug pushers taking advantage of Americans in search of cheaper health care. And in doing so, the Justice Department may be uncovering a bigger issue: the creeping 15% of counterfeits worldwide that gradually are cracking the U.S. drug distribution system.

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The U.S. Department of Justice may have once and for all exposed the man behind the curtain, revealing many online Canadian pharmacies for what they really are: drug pushers taking advantage of Americans in search of cheaper health care. And in doing so, the Justice Department may be uncovering a bigger issue: the creeping 15% of counterfeits worldwide that gradually are cracking the U.S. drug distribution system.

August 22, 2011

The National Community Pharmacists Association last week delivered a letter to the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules opposing an Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services proposal to sharply decrease Medicaid reimbursements and “slow-walk” reimbursement payments.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association last week delivered a letter to the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules opposing an Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services proposal to sharply decrease Medicaid reimbursements and “slow-walk” reimbursement payments.

The action could force more than 700 independent community pharmacies to shutter their doors, the NCPA stated.

August 15, 2011

It's a strategic next step in retail pharmacy, a setting that has fast evolved as the intrinsic destination for all health-related matters: health advice, self-care solutions, medication therapy management, compliance programs, acute-care services and now, if the reports turn out to be accurate, branded healthcare insurance.

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — It's a strategic next step in retail pharmacy, a setting that has fast evolved as the intrinsic destination for all health-related matters: health advice, self-care solutions, medication therapy management, compliance programs, acute-care services and now, if the reports turn out to be accurate, branded healthcare insurance. And by the time this offering would be available in 2014, the need for affordable healthcare insurance may go well beyond the 48.6 million uninsured that exist today.

August 11, 2011

Medicare Part D beneficiaries showed better adherence to their oral diabetes drugs when receiving them by mail order, according to a new study.

IRVINE, Calif. — Medicare Part D beneficiaries showed better adherence to their oral diabetes drugs when receiving them by mail order, according to a new study.

The study, conducted on behalf of Prescription Solutions by OptumRx, the pharmacy benefit management arm of health services company Optum, and published in the Journal of Medical Economics, found that patients using mail-order pharmacy showed adherence rates of 49.7%, compared with 42.8% of those who went to retail pharmacies.

August 9, 2011

Walgreens is planning to sell health insurance as soon as this fall, CNNMoney reported Tuesday morning.

NEW YORK — Walgreens is planning to sell health insurance as soon as this fall, CNNMoney reported Tuesday morning.

Walgreens declined to comment on the matter, according to the report.

The Chicago-based pharmacy-and-more operator would sell health insurance products with different price ranges and coverage levels across its network nationwide through a private health insurance exchange, CNNMoney reported, citing people familiar with the plan.

August 5, 2011

Medicare Part D prescription drug plan premiums will cost beneficiaries roughly $30 in 2012, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

WASHINGTON — Medicare Part D prescription drug plan premiums will cost beneficiaries roughly $30 in 2012, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, a trade group representing pharmacy benefit managers, heralded the figure, saying it confirmed the success of Medicare Part D plans in delivering savings.

August 4, 2011

The Alliance for Patient Care, a coalition of healthcare providers, health plans, patient advocates and others working together to protect access to care in California’s Medi-Cal (Medicaid) program, headed to Washington, D.C., to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and members of Congress to reject California’s proposed cut to the state’s Medi-Cal program, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

WASHINGTON — The Alliance for Patient Care, a coalition of healthcare providers, health plans, patient advocates and others working together to protect access to care in California’s Medi-Cal (Medicaid) program, headed to Washington, D.C., to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and members of Congress to reject California’s proposed cut to the state’s Medi-Cal program, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

August 4, 2011

Healthcare accrediting organization URAC has given accreditation to Magellan Health Services' specialty pharmacy division.

AVON, Conn. — Healthcare accrediting organization URAC has given accreditation to Magellan Health Services' specialty pharmacy division.

Magellan announced Wednesday that ICORE Healthcare had received the accreditation after meeting the Washington-based organization's standards, developed by its pharmacy advisory committee.

July 27, 2011

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is producing savings for state Medicaid programs that take advantage of a provision equalizing drug rebates between managed care and fee-for-service programs, according to a fact sheet released Tuesday by the Association for Community Affiliated Plans.

WASHINGTON — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is producing savings for state Medicaid programs that take advantage of a provision equalizing drug rebates between managed care and fee-for-service programs, according to a fact sheet released Tuesday by the Association for Community Affiliated Plans.