Content about Medicare

December 21, 2011

According to the National Community Pharmacists Association, changes governing long-term care facilities that recently were proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could create turmoil for independent community pharmacies providing LTC services, the association stated in a release Wednesday.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — According to the National Community Pharmacists Association, changes governing long-term care facilities that recently were proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could create turmoil for independent community pharmacies providing LTC services, the association stated in a release Wednesday.

December 19, 2011

One-in-eight Americans didn't fill prescriptions last year because they couldn't afford to, but despite difficulties with the economy, that proportion remained level, according to a new study conducted by the Center for Studying Health System Change and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

WASHINGTON — One-in-eight Americans didn't fill prescriptions last year because they couldn't afford to, but despite difficulties with the economy, that proportion remained level, according to a new study conducted by the Center for Studying Health System Change and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

December 15, 2011

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Community Pharmacists Association issued a statement on Thursday announcing that they commend Reps. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa; Mike Rogers, R-Mich.; and 38 of their colleagues who expressed concerns with draft Federal Upper Limits lists that recently have been published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Community Pharmacists Association issued a statement on Thursday announcing that they commend Reps. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa; Mike Rogers, R-Mich.; and 38 of their colleagues who expressed concerns with draft Federal Upper Limits lists that recently have been published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

December 5, 2011

Senior Walmart executives regularly invoke the name of Sam Walton when it serves to reinforce a point regarding the company’s business model or the cultural principles on which Walton is said to have founded the company.

Senior Walmart executives regularly invoke the name of Sam Walton when it serves to reinforce a point regarding the company’s business model or the cultural principles on which Walton is said to have founded the company. Dr. John Agwunobi, president of health and wellness for Walmart U.S., took the practice a step further recently when he participated in a panel presentation with other top executives at a conference put on by the Center for Retailing Excellence at the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business.


November 28, 2011

The Obama administration confirmed last week that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Donald Berwick will step down from his post on Dec. 2.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration confirmed last week that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Donald Berwick will step down from his post on Dec. 2.

Berwick, who was nominated to the position by President Obama in April 2010, was supposed to lead the agency through the end of the year as part of his recess appointment.

Marilyn Tavenner, CMS principal deputy administrator, will succeed Berwick, according to a statement made by Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

November 28, 2011

The National Committee for Quality Assurance on Monday named Jeffrey Kang, Walgreens SVP pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions, to its board.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The National Committee for Quality Assurance on Monday named Jeffrey Kang, Walgreens SVP pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions, to its board.

NCQA is a private nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies a wide range of healthcare organizations. The group also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA's Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care, the committee stated.

November 22, 2011

The recent approval of a 10% reimbursement rate cut in California’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has prompted provider groups to file a lawsuit against the California Department of Healthcare Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, alleging that the cuts did not follow proper legal channels.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The recent approval of a 10% reimbursement rate cut in California’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has prompted provider groups to file a lawsuit against the California Department of Healthcare Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, alleging that the cuts did not follow proper legal channels.

November 22, 2011

A UnitedHealth Group company announced its plans to acquire a sponsor of Medicare Advantage health plans in an all-cash transaction.

MINNETONKA, Minn. — A UnitedHealth Group company announced its plans to acquire a sponsor of Medicare Advantage health plans in an all-cash transaction.

November 21, 2011

Many so-called restricted-network Medicare Part D prescription drug plans don't give adequate pharmacy access to rural residents and are deceptively marketed to patients, the National Community Pharmacists Association said Monday.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Many so-called restricted-network Medicare Part D prescription drug plans don't give adequate pharmacy access to rural residents and are deceptively marketed to patients, the National Community Pharmacists Association said Monday.

The plans include those offered by a number of national retail chains and health insurers.

November 18, 2011

If there are 366 million diabetics worldwide, that means that the U.S. piece of that sugar-free pie is 7.1%.

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — If there are 366 million diabetics worldwide, that means that the U.S. piece of that sugar-free pie is 7.1%. And if the U.S. diabetes population grows by more than 50.8% over the next two decades, as the International Diabetes Foundation attests, that'll mean there will be 38.6 million diabetics in this country by 2030. That's a lot of diabetes education that needs to happen between now and then, and what better place to have that happen than at the neighborhood drug store?

November 17, 2011

Pharmacy benefit manager SXC Health Solutions is buying PBM service company HealthTrans for $250 million, SXC said Thursday.

LISLE, Ill. — Pharmacy benefit manager SXC Health Solutions is buying PBM service company HealthTrans for $250 million, SXC said Thursday.

Based in Colorado with additional offices in Illinois, Florida and Georgia, HealthTrans provides PBM and healthcare information technology services to about 260 clients, and its PBM business includes a suite of PBM offerings, such as nationwide retail network, formulary and rebate management, Medicare Part D services and mail order.

November 11, 2011

In an 8-K filing earlier this week, Walgreens broke down its Express Scripts business and challenged many assertions that have been made regarding contract negotiations with Express Scripts.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — In an 8-K filing earlier this week, Walgreens broke down its Express Scripts business and challenged many assertions that have been made regarding contract negotiations with Express Scripts. The overarching theme of the filing suggested Express Scripts has little to gain without Walgreens within the pharmacy network fold but much to lose.

November 10, 2011

More than 1-out-of-4 U.S. adults were unable to pay or encountered problems paying medical bills in the past year, according to a new survey published by the Commonwealth Fund.

CHICAGO — More than 1-out-of-4 U.S. adults were unable to pay or encountered problems paying medical bills in the past year, according to a new survey published by the Commonwealth Fund.

November 8, 2011

In response to a new second set of limits on generic drug pharmacy reimbursement that recently were proposed by federal Medicaid officials, the National Community Pharmacists Association on Tuesday reiterated its concerns with what the group characterized as the "flawed methodology" being used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to determine the payment caps.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In response to a new second set of limits on generic drug pharmacy reimbursement that recently were proposed by federal Medicaid officials, the National Community Pharmacists Association on Tuesday reiterated its concerns with what the group characterized as the "flawed methodology" being used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to determine the payment caps.

NCPA requested a meeting with CMS officials on the matter.
 

November 3, 2011

CVS Caremark on Thursday reported solid third-quarter results — 2 cents above the high end of its guidance range — driven in large part by better-than-expected performance in its pharmacy benefit management, which is in the midst of a profit-improvement plan.

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark on Thursday reported solid third-quarter results — 2 cents above the high end of its guidance range — driven in large part by better-than-expected performance in its pharmacy benefit management, which is in the midst of a profit-improvement plan.

October 31, 2011

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association jointly spoke out Friday against cuts to California's Medicaid program Medi-Cal, which will be retroactive to June 1.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association jointly spoke out Friday against cuts to California's Medicaid program Medi-Cal, which will be retroactive to June 1.

October 28, 2011

Kmart has announced that it is providing seasonal flu vaccinations at its more than 900 Kmart pharmacies nationwide.

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Kmart has announced that it is providing seasonal flu vaccinations at its more than 900 Kmart pharmacies nationwide.

In addition, members of Kmart Pharmacy's Prescription Savings Club will pay just $20 for the flu shot. Kmart Pharmacy also offers the high-dose flu shot (indicated for those ages 65 years and older). Many prescription insurance programs cover flu shots, including Medicare Part B and D.

October 28, 2011

Standard monthly premiums under Medicare Part B will be $99.90 in 2012, $6.70 under the projected figure made by the Department of Health and Human Services, HHS announced Thursday.

WASHINGTON — Standard monthly premiums under Medicare Part B will be $99.90 in 2012, $6.70 under the projected figure made by the Department of Health and Human Services, HHS announced Thursday.

This year's Medicare Part B premium is a $15.50 decrease over the standard 2011 premium of $115.40 paid by new enrollees and higher income Medicare beneficiaries and by Medicaid on behalf of low-income enrollees, HHS said. Additionally, the Medicare Part B deductible will be $140, a decrease of $22 from 2011.

October 28, 2011

A volunteer eye health and safety organization has introduced a new program that seeks to educate the public on the potential effects diabetes may have on one's vision.

CHICAGO — A volunteer eye health and safety organization has introduced a new program that seeks to educate the public on the potential effects diabetes may have on one's vision.

October 28, 2011

The program to offer certain generic drugs virtually for free to Medicare Part D beneficiaries is one of Rite Aid’s many new ways to attract more customers and thus grow its sales and profits, especially in the pharmacy.

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The program to offer certain generic drugs virtually for free to Medicare Part D beneficiaries is one of Rite Aid’s many new ways to attract more customers and thus grow its sales and profits, especially in the pharmacy.

(THE NEWS: Rite Aid partners with Envision Insurance Co. to offer Medicare Part D Rx drug plan. For the full story, click here)

October 25, 2011

Medicare Part D beneficiaries will be able to obtain hundreds of generic drugs without any deductible or co-pay under a new program offered by Rite Aid.

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Medicare Part D beneficiaries will be able to obtain hundreds of generic drugs without any deductible or co-pay under a new program offered by Rite Aid.

The retail pharmacy chain announced Tuesday that it had partnered with Envision Insurance Co. to offer a value-focused prescription drug plan for Medicare Part D Open Enrollment 2012. Rite Aid EnvisionRx Plus offers beneficiaries a plan with a $0 deductible and $0 co-pays, including during the coverage gap, also known as the donut hole.

October 24, 2011

Walgreens is continuing to provide resources to Medicare Part D beneficiaries in order to help them better understand their healthcare options.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens is continuing to provide resources to Medicare Part D beneficiaries in order to help them better understand their healthcare options.

October 21, 2011

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores submitted on Friday comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding the draft federal upper limit list published by CMS.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores submitted on Friday comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding the draft federal upper limit list published by CMS.

October 21, 2011

It's been another busy week on the Walgreens/Express Scripts front as an arbiter ruled against preliminary injunctive relief in time for the 2012 Medicare open enrollment period, which actually started last week. What's more, other parties are beginning to weigh in on the dispute, notably in favor of Walgreens.

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — It's been another busy week on the Walgreens/Express Scripts front as an arbiter ruled against preliminary injunctive relief in time for the 2012 Medicare open enrollment period, which actually started last week. What's more, other parties are beginning to weigh in on the dispute, notably in favor of Walgreens.

(THE NEWS: Preliminary injunctive relief denied in WAG/ESI dispute. For the full story, click here.)

October 20, 2011

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has engaged its Rapid Response Program, issuing a letter to the editor to the Los Angeles Times to highlight the importance of maintaining prescription medication access to prevent patient health complications and the increased need for costly forms of health care.

ALEXANDRIA, Va.  — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has engaged its Rapid Response Program, issuing a letter to the editor to the Los Angeles Times to highlight the importance of maintaining prescription medication access to prevent patient health complications and the increased need for costly forms of health care.

Through the Rapid Response Program, NACDS proactively addresses media reports and other communications in the public domain in a way that raises awareness of the value of community pharmacies as the face of neighborhood healthcare.