Content about Healthcare reform in the United States

January 4, 2011

Generic drug maker Mylan has settled a lawsuit concerning Medicaid reimbursements with the federal government and the state of Texas, Mylan said Dec. 24.

PITTSBURGH — Generic drug maker Mylan has settled a lawsuit concerning Medicaid reimbursements with the federal government and the state of Texas, Mylan said Dec. 24.

Under the settlement, Mylan will pay $65 million.

Several state attorneys general filed lawsuits against Mylan and other drug companies in September 2003 over Medicaid reimbursements, alleging that the companies defrauded the programs by reporting average wholesale prices greater than the prices of their prescription drugs, thus causing the programs to make excessive payments to healthcare providers.

January 3, 2011

CVS Caremark is more than doubling the size of its Medicare Part D program by acquiring the Medicare Part D business of Universal American for roughly $1.25 billion.

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark is more than doubling the size of its Medicare Part D program by acquiring the Medicare Part D business of Universal American for roughly $1.25 billion.

Universal American’s Part D business currently serves about 1.9 million Medicare PDP members, while CVS Caremark serves roughly 1.2 million Medicare PDP members. This reflects current levels of membership and does not include 2011 auto assignment or the results of the annual enrollment period, which ended Dec. 31, 2010.

January 3, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service has released its guidance on the healthcare-reform law’s tax on drug makers, according to documents posted on the agency’s website.

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has released its guidance on the healthcare-reform law’s tax on drug makers, according to documents posted on the agency’s website.

The tax applies to branded drug companies with total sales of at least $5 million to government health programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and programs administered by the defense and veterans affairs departments.

December 22, 2010

Carol Kelly, SVP government affairs and public policy for NACDS, spoke with Drug Store News on Dec. 20 about what the state Medicaid budget crisis means for pharmacies in Washington, what NACDS is doing to resolve the issue and how the state could address its healthcare costs more effectively.

A budgetary crisis in Washington state has spawned new threats to pharmacy retailers as lawmakers and Gov. Chris Greqoire grapple with an expected shortfall of $1.4 billion in 2011.

December 20, 2010

A study by the Government Accountability Office confirmed that the health-reform law enacted earlier this year established a more reasonable reimbursement level for pharmacies dispensing generic drugs to patients covered by Medicaid. But pharmacy retailers still face the continued threat of further Medicaid cuts at the state level, the independent pharmacy lobby warned Friday.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A study by the Government Accountability Office confirmed that the health-reform law enacted earlier this year established a more reasonable reimbursement level for pharmacies dispensing generic drugs to patients covered by Medicaid. But pharmacy retailers still face the continued threat of further Medicaid cuts at the state level, the independent pharmacy lobby warned Friday.

December 17, 2010

It’s a battle that raged for more than three years. But in mid-December, the retail pharmacy industry was able to declare a clear, unequivocal victory.

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — It’s a battle that raged for more than three years. But in mid-December, the retail pharmacy industry was able to declare a clear, unequivocal victory.

(THE NEWS: In landmark victory for retail pharmacy, feds agree to drop last AMP provisions. For the full story, click here)

December 15, 2010

New York’s state Medicaid program could save $2.2 billion over 10 years by managing Medicaid pharmacy benefits more like private-sector employer plans, state employee plans and Medicare, according to a new study by healthcare policy research firm The Lewin Group.

WASHINGTON — New York’s state Medicaid program could save $2.2 billion over 10 years by managing Medicaid pharmacy benefits more like private-sector employer plans, state employee plans and Medicare, according to a new study by healthcare policy research firm The Lewin Group.

December 13, 2010

More retailers have joined UnitedHealthcare's prescription savings program that caters to Medicare Part D members.

MINNETONKA, Minn. — More retailers have signed on for UnitedHealthcare's prescription savings program that caters to Medicare Part D members.

Target, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, Publix Super Markets, Food Lion, Bloom, Harveys and Sweetbay Supermarket have joined the insurance company's Pharmacy Saver program, which allows members to purchase some scripts for $2 for 30-day and some 90-day supplies, and applies to hundreds of prescription drugs, including 8-of-the-10 most commonly used by UnitedHealthcare Medicare plan members.

December 10, 2010

A decision by Congress to reauthorize the Special Diabetes Program has drawn praise from the American Diabetes Association.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A decision by Congress to reauthorize the Special Diabetes Program has drawn praise from the American Diabetes Association.

The program was part of the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010 and will ensure continuance through 2013 of the Special Diabetes Program for American Indians while providing $150 million per year in funding.

December 7, 2010


BENTONVILLE, Ark. — It’s the kind of low-price power play that gives smaller-scale independent pharmacy owners — and chain drug store operators too, for that matter — the willies. In what promises to be another potent and potentially market-altering exercise in massive scale and competitive clout, Walmart has linked up with insurance heavyweight Humana to launch what it says will be the lowest-cost prescription drug plan for seniors who rely on Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.


December 7, 2010

MINNETONKA, Minn. — Could the economy and the bare-knuckles competition that now defines pharmacy retailing lower the price bar even further for widely used generic drugs? It’s already happening.


December 7, 2010

WASHINGTON — Proclaiming the potential cost-saving benefits of its signature legislative accomplishment, the massive health-reform bill enacted earlier this year, the White House is projecting that the Affordable Care Act will reduce average costs per patient enrolled in Medicare by thousands of dollars over the next decade.


December 6, 2010

The specialty pharmacy market is set to reach $90 billion this year, so it’s clear that managed care organizations have a lot at stake.

PHILADELPHIA — The specialty pharmacy market is set to reach $90 billion this year, so it’s clear that managed care organizations have a lot at stake.

That was the overarching theme at a symposium organized by specialty pharmacy provider ACRO Pharmaceutical Services, in conjunction with Armada Health Care, last Thursday at the Hyatt Regency at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.

November 24, 2010

UnitedHealth Group will start a program next year that it said can reduce drug costs to as low as $2 per script, the company said Tuesday.

MINNETONKA, Minn. — UnitedHealth Group will start a program next year that it said can reduce drug costs to as low as $2 per script, the company said Tuesday.

The program, Pharmacy Saver, will be available to Medicare Part D members and is a collaboration with Kroger, Safeway and Prescription Solutions. The program will allow members to purchase some scripts for $2 for 30- and some 90-day supplies and applies to hundreds of prescription drugs, including 8-of-the-10 most commonly used by UnitedHealthcare Medicare plan members.

November 16, 2010

With the holiday season just around the corner, CVS/pharmacy is encouraging older adults and their...

WOONSOCKET, R.I. With the holiday season just around the corner, CVS/pharmacy is encouraging older adults and their caregivers to make family health part of the conversation during family gatherings.

With annual enrollment for Medicare Part D under way through Dec. 31, now is the ideal time for seniors and their caregivers to review their medication regimen and identify ways to save on annual medication costs, the company stated.

November 15, 2010

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Tuesday formally established the new Center for...

BALTIMORE — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Tuesday formally established the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

 

Established by the Affordable Care Act, the Innovation Center is charged with finding new ways of delivering health care and paying healthcare providers in an effort to save money for Medicare and Medicaid while improving the quality of care. CMS also announced the launch of new demonstration projects that will support efforts to better coordinate care and improve health outcomes for patients.

November 15, 2010

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a rule shortening the traditional 30-day...

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a rule shortening the traditional 30-day drug cycle for long-term care centers to seven days when brand-name drugs are dispensed, prompting a supportive response from an organization representing independent pharmacies.

 

November 14, 2010

Humana and Wal-Mart Stores on Monday announced that Mary Lee Reinscheld became the first Medicare...

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.

 

November 14, 2010

In a ruling hailed by retail pharmacy leaders, the Department of Defense now is insisting...

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a ruling hailed by retail pharmacy leaders, the Department of Defense now is insisting that drug manufacturers extend the same discounts for prescription drugs sold at community pharmacies that the military gets for medicines dispensed through base dispensaries or mail order.

November 14, 2010

In an effort to help seniors navigate changes in Medicare Part D plans, Walgreens is...

DEERFIELD, Ill. — In an effort to help seniors navigate changes in Medicare Part D plans, Walgreens is offering a free plan comparison report to make it easier for Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers to determine how much money can be saved under different plans.

Open enrollment for Medicare Part D drug plans began Monday, and enrollees have until Dec. 31 to review their coverage options for 2011.

November 10, 2010

Save Flexible Spending Plans — a national grassroots advocacy organization sponsored by the Employers Council...

WASHINGTON Save Flexible Spending Plans — a national grassroots advocacy organization sponsored by the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation — on Thursday called on the new leaders in Congress to follow through on their campaign promises and fix problems with the healthcare-reform law, including the removal of to-be-imposed restrictions on employer-provided flexible spending accounts.

 

November 9, 2010

Budget cuts in Washington state to its Medicaid programs have created a “perilous situation” for...

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Budget cuts in Washington state to its Medicaid programs have created a “perilous situation” for retail pharmacies and their patients, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores warned on Wednesday, and could “pose danger as a precedent for other states across the nation as well,” according to the group.

 

November 9, 2010

Rite Aid on Wednesday announced its pharmacists have been prepared to assist seniors during the...

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Wednesday announced its pharmacists have been prepared to assist seniors during the 2011 Medicare Part D open enrollment period. With the first of the baby boomers officially turning 65 years old in 2011, more seniors are expected to hit drug stores looking for information about Part D options and open enrollment.

 

Open enrollment begins on Nov. 15.

 

 

November 4, 2010

Under the Affordable Care Act, the average savings for those enrolled in traditional Medicare is...

WASHINGTON Under the Affordable Care Act, the average savings for those enrolled in traditional Medicare is expected to amount to more than $3,500 over the next 10 years — and will be even higher for seniors and people with diabetes who have high drug costs — according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 

November 4, 2010

That Medicare doesn’t universally cover the use of retail clinics — and even create a...

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — That Medicare doesn’t universally cover the use of retail clinics — and even create a structure that encourages their use for certain services — is a key symptom of what is wrong with the U.S. healthcare system.

THE NEWS: Duane Reade Walk-In Medical Care clinics to accept Medicare. For the full story, click here)