Content about Medicare

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 12, 2011

The need for diabetes educators will rise sharply between now and 2025 as the diabetes epidemic worsens, according to a new study by the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

CHICAGO — The need for diabetes educators will rise sharply between now and 2025 as the diabetes epidemic worsens, according to a new study by the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

The study, conducted by Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, found that the need would increase by at least 60% over the next 14 years, with new career opportunities likely to emerge as private insurers and Medicare recognize the role the educators play.

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 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

CVS Caremark posted second-quarter results that were at the high end of its guidance and narrowed its 2011 outlook on continued confidence. But it was the pharmacy benefit management business — and the potential merger of PBM rivals Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions — that was top of mind for many industry observers, and was a topic that CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo hit head-on at the start of Thursday morning’s conference call.

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark posted second-quarter results that were at the high end of its guidance and narrowed its 2011 outlook on continued confidence. But it was the pharmacy benefit management business — and the potential merger of PBM rivals Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions — that was top of mind for many industry observers, and was a topic that CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo hit head-on at the start of Thursday morning’s conference call.

August 2, 2011

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on Monday became the 11th senator to sign on as a co-sponsor for the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011. The legislation was first introduced in February by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on Monday became the 11th senator to sign on as a co-sponsor for the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011. The legislation was first introduced in February by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.

August 1, 2011

New guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services at no additional cost were announced Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

WASHINGTON — New guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services at no additional cost were announced Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Developed by the independent Institute of Medicine, the new guidelines require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services, such as well-woman visits, breast-feeding support, domestic violence screening and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.

July 29, 2011

Pharmacy benefit management tools helped slow prescription drug spending growth from 5.3% in 2009 to 3.5% in 2010, according to a new study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

WASHINGTON — Pharmacy benefit management tools helped slow prescription drug spending growth from 5.3% in 2009 to 3.5% in 2010, according to a new study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

One PBM tool that helped was tiered co-pays that shifted medication use toward lower-cost generic drugs.

July 28, 2011

The Hepatitis Education Awareness and Liver Support of the South is advocating for awareness about hepatitis and the importance of Medicare Part D as part of World Hepatitis Day, the organization said Thursday.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Hepatitis Education Awareness and Liver Support of the South is advocating for awareness about hepatitis and the importance of Medicare Part D as part of World Hepatitis Day, the organization said Thursday.

July 22, 2011

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced Thursday that it has submitted comments to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging outlining the value of the pharmacist-patient interaction in helping improve health and reduce costs in the Medicare program, and urged the committee to support the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011, which seeks to increase access to pharmacy services for Medicare beneficiaries.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced Thursday that it has submitted comments to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging outlining the value of the pharmacist-patient interaction in helping improve health and reduce costs in the Medicare program, and urged the committee to support the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011, which seeks to increase access to pharmacy services for Medicare beneficiaries.

July 22, 2011

The National Community Pharmacists Association on Friday announced “grave concerns” regarding a purported Oregon Medicaid plan amendment that would, according to the association, renege on a pact the state previously reached with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and cut Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement for the second time this year.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Friday announced “grave concerns” regarding a purported Oregon Medicaid plan amendment that would, according to the association, renege on a pact the state previously reached with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and cut Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement for the second time this year.

July 14, 2011

Amid debt ceiling talks, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has sent a letter to President Barack Obama and to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate leadership outlining key areas to help ensure continued patient access to pharmacy services through such federally funded programs as Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, the association announced on Wednesday.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Amid debt ceiling talks, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has sent a letter to President Barack Obama and to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate leadership outlining key areas to help ensure continued patient access to pharmacy services through such federally funded programs as Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, the association announced on Wednesday. 

July 11, 2011

H. D. Smith on Monday announced its support for H.R. 1041, otherwise known as the Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — H. D. Smith on Monday announced its support for H.R. 1041, otherwise known as the Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act.

Introduced in March by Reps. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., and Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., the bill seeks to repeal the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies competitive bidding program included in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA). 

July 8, 2011

Pharmacy groups are urging Congress to maintain access to diabetic testing supplies in retail pharmacies for patients with diabetes.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Pharmacy groups are urging Congress to maintain access to diabetic testing supplies in retail pharmacies for patients with diabetes.

July 7, 2011

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding a proposed rule that would help to determine Medicaid beneficiary access to pharmacies and other healthcare providers.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. ­— The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding a proposed rule that would help to determine Medicaid beneficiary access to pharmacies and other healthcare providers.

NACDS urged CMS to ensure access to healthcare services for Medicaid beneficiaries that are comparable with the access that the general population has in a given geographic area, a requirement of the federal standard.

July 7, 2011

Audiovox Accessories introduced a one-size-fits-most hearing aid to drug store retailers attending NACDS Marketplace called the RCA Symphonix. At a $299.99 price point, the product may be a little steep to carry in store but may be ideal for online placement for shipment home or to the pharmacy for pickup.

Audiovox Accessories introduced a one-size-fits-most personal sound amplifier to drug store retailers attending NACDS Marketplace called the RCA Symphonix. At a $299.99 price point, the product may be a little steep to carry in store but may be ideal for online placement for shipment home or to the pharmacy for pickup. That price point may actually be a bargain for many consumers who need hearing aids — customized hearing aids can run in excess of $1,000 per ear and are not typically covered by health plans, including Medicare.

June 23, 2011

Bipartisan legislation that is aimed to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid programs has been introduced to Congress.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Bipartisan legislation that is aimed to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid programs has been introduced to Congress.

Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said that the Medicare and Medicaid Fighting Fraud and Abuse to Save Taxpayers’ Dollars Act, which was unveiled Wednesday, would address the aforementioned problems, which often lead to tens of billions of dollars lost to waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid every year, the senators said.

June 13, 2011

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been a bête noire among much of the Republican party since President Obama signed it into law. But as GOP presidential candidates prepared for the first official debate in Manchester, N.H., one group launched a series of ads defending it and other programs to address the nation’s health coverage gap.

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been a bête noire among much of the Republican party since President Obama signed it into law. But as GOP presidential candidates prepared for the first official debate in Manchester, N.H., one group launched a series of ads defending it and other programs to address the nation’s health coverage gap.

May 25, 2011

The Healthcare Distribution Management Association on Wednesday honored Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, with its Rx Safety and Healthcare Leadership Award.

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Healthcare Distribution Management Association on Wednesday honored Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, with its Rx Safety and Healthcare Leadership Award.

The award recognizes public officials for their leadership and commitment to public policies that support and promote the safe and efficient delivery of life-saving medicines to patients nationwide.

May 24, 2011

Reps. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., on Monday introduced legislation that would exempt community pharmacies with less than 10 locations from having to participate in Medicare competitive acquisition programs and pricing when it comes to the sale of blood-glucose meters and supplies.

WASHINGTON — Reps. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., on Monday introduced legislation that would exempt community pharmacies with less than 10 locations from having to participate in Medicare competitive acquisition programs and pricing when it comes to the sale of blood-glucose meters and supplies.

May 19, 2011

A drug for cardiovascular disease made by Boehringer Ingelheim has received preferred formulary status with AARP’s Medicare Part D plans, the drug maker said Thursday.

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — A drug for cardiovascular disease made by Boehringer Ingelheim has received preferred formulary status with AARP’s Medicare Part D plans, the drug maker said Thursday.

BI announced that Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) received preferred Tier 2 formulary status through AARP’s pharmacy benefit manager, Prescription Solutions. The Food and Drug Administration approved Pradaxa in October 2010 to reduce the risk of stroke and embolism in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.

May 19, 2011

Despite the promise of oral drugs for treating cancer, high costs and the burden of taking multiple medications drive 10% of patients prescribed the drugs not to fill their initial prescriptions, according to a new study published in the Journal of Oncology Practice and the American Journal of Managed Care.

WASHINGTON — Despite the promise of oral drugs for treating cancer, high costs and the burden of taking multiple medications drive 10% of patients prescribed the drugs not to fill their initial prescriptions, according to a new study published in the Journal of Oncology Practice and the American Journal of Managed Care.

May 13, 2011

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association and other trade and patient advocacy groups can push generic drug usage as a way to save on medical costs, but throwing the weight of Congress behind generics gives them a bigger boost than ever.

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The Generic Pharmaceutical Association and other trade and patient advocacy groups can push generic drug usage as a way to save on medical costs, but throwing the weight of Congress behind generics gives them a bigger boost than ever.

(THE NEWS: GPhA expresses support of Congressional Affordable Medicines Caucus. For the full story, click here)

May 12, 2011

A new congressional caucus will look for ways to educate the public and members of Congress on how to reduce the country’s healthcare costs with affordable medicines.

WASHINGTON — A new congressional caucus will look for ways to educate the public and members of Congress on how to reduce the country’s healthcare costs with affordable medicines.

Reps. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., will serve as chairwoman and chairman for the Congressional Affordable Medicines Caucus, whose formation was announced Thursday.