Content about Medicare

February 3, 2011

The Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging state governments to save money with generic drugs.

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging state governments to save money with generic drugs.

In a document released Thursday, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius urged all 50 state governors to increase the use of generic drugs in their state Medicaid programs.

February 3, 2011

What will define success for CVS Caremark in the years ahead? If you ask incoming CEO Larry Merlo, it all comes down to three things: flawless execution, cross-functional thinking and management, and enhancing value. Not coincidentally, those are three key reasons Merlo inherited the top spot at the company.

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — What will define success for CVS Caremark in the years ahead? If you ask incoming CEO Larry Merlo, it all comes down to three things: flawless execution, cross-functional thinking and management, and enhancing value. Not coincidentally, those are three key reasons Merlo inherited the top spot at the company.

February 3, 2011

New legislation that supports medication therapy management, which is known to improve patient health outcomes and lower healthcare costs, has been endorsed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — New legislation that supports medication therapy management, which is known to improve patient health outcomes and lower healthcare costs, has been endorsed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association.

The Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011, which was introduced by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., builds on legislation that Hagan authored in 2010 and also was co-sponsored by Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

February 1, 2011

Just when you thought the low end of the generic drug price spectrum couldn’t get any more commoditized, the $2 price point debuted with a big splash in September 2010.


January 27, 2011

Seniors of Hispanic descent are far less likely to become immunized against the flu or pneumonia, compared with white seniors, according to a new RAND study released earlier this week.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Seniors of Hispanic descent are far less likely to become immunized against the flu or pneumonia, compared with white seniors, according to a new RAND study released earlier this week.

Researchers found that Hispanic seniors who prefer speaking Spanish and live in such linguistically isolated communities as the Southeast are least likely to be immunized.

January 18, 2011

A group representing the drug retailing industry submitted a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., regarding "issues [that] are of the utmost importance" to its members.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A group representing the drug retailing industry submitted a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., regarding "issues [that] are of the utmost importance" to its members.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores' president and CEO, Steve Anderson, wrote to Issa, highlighting certain pieces of legislation that affect traditional drug stores, supermarkets and mass merchants with pharmacies, all of which NACDS represents.

January 14, 2011

Nearly 2-of-every-3 Americans said they would oppose any further cuts to federally funded care for seniors needing long-term care.

WASHINGTON — Nearly 2-of-every-3 Americans said they would oppose any further cuts to federally funded care for seniors needing long-term care.

A newly released nationwide survey from the Zogby polling firm found that 65% of Americans expressed opposition to policies that resulted in cuts to Medicaid funding for nursing home care for the nation’s poor and elderly. The American Health Care Association, which sponsored the poll, also reported these findings Friday:

January 7, 2011

The news that CVS Caremark has entered an agreement to acquire the Medicare Part D business of Universal American is important on several fronts: Not only will the deal more than double the size of CVS Caremark's Medicare Part D program, but the move also comes just as the first baby boomers turn 65.

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The news that CVS Caremark has entered an agreement to acquire the Medicare Part D business of Universal American is important on several fronts: Not only will the deal more than double the size of CVS Caremark's Medicare Part D program, but the move also comes just as the first baby boomers turn 65.

(THE NEWS: CVS Caremark acquires Universal American. For the full story, click here)

January 7, 2011

Almost $8,000 a year in healthcare savings, per patient. That’s how much patients with congestive heart failure could save the U.S. healthcare system simply by taking their medications as prescribed, an exhaustive, three-year study by CVS Caremark concluded.

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Almost $8,000 a year in healthcare savings, per patient. That’s how much patients with congestive heart failure could save the U.S. healthcare system simply by taking their medications as prescribed, an exhaustive, three-year study by CVS Caremark concluded.

(THE NEWS: Adherence among chronic disease patients can lead to big savings. For the full story, click here)

January 6, 2011

The economic recession attributed to a mere 4% rise in healthcare spending, the slowest rate of growth in the 50-year history of the National Health Expenditure Accounts, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

WASHINGTON — The economic recession attributed to a mere 4% rise in healthcare spending, the slowest rate of growth in the 50-year history of the National Health Expenditure Accounts, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

That number translates to $2.5 trillion, or about $8,086 per person.

CMS added that, despite the slowdown, healthcare spending growth continued to outpace overall economic growth, which declined 1.7% in 2009, as measured by nominal Gross Domestic Product.

January 5, 2011

MEDINA, Ohio — The family-owned-and-operated Discount Drug Mart added a line of wigs to its already deep presence within durable medical equipment for oncology patients. Discount Drug, which generated $530.6 million in 2009, is in its second year as an accredited provider under Medicare Part B.

January 5, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — 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.


We’re talking, of course, about the struggle to head off what would have been a devastating change in the way Medicaid pays community pharmacies to dispense generic drugs to low-income patients. On Dec. 14, the chain and independent pharmacy lobbies announced they had reached a landmark agreement with the 
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that effectively ends the threat.

January 5, 2011

BALTIMORE — If the government paid for drug cost incentives for Medicare patients with congestive heart failure, the program could recoup those costs and more by spending less on expensive hospitalizations for patients. 


That finding was one of several to emerge from research conducted by pharmacy students at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. The four students presented their findings on elderly drug adherence at the annual meeting of the Gerontology Society of America in New Orleans.

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 21, 2010

A Mylan subsidiary has settled a lawsuit brought on by the Department of Justice four years ago.

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — A Mylan subsidiary has settled a lawsuit brought on by the Department of Justice four years ago.

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

Midwestern supermarket chain Hy-Vee will offer 366 commonly prescribed generic prescription drugs for as little as $2 to select Medicare beneficiaries through a program offered in collaboration with UnitedHealthcare, Hy-Vee said.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Midwestern supermarket chain Hy-Vee will offer 366 commonly prescribed generic prescription drugs for as little as $2 to select Medicare beneficiaries through a program offered in collaboration with UnitedHealthcare, Hy-Vee said.

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 14, 2010

In a clear victory for retail pharmacy, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association have agreed with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on a motion to dismiss the Medicaid average manufacturer price lawsuit.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a clear victory for retail pharmacy, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association have agreed with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on a motion to dismiss the Medicaid average manufacturer price lawsuit. The landmark agreement came after CMS withdrew the last remaining provisions of the AMP rule that had been blocked by a preliminary injunction following litigation by NACDS and NCPA.

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

Most beneficiaries of the Medicare Part D program are unaware of new measures to close the so-called “donut hole” coverage gap, according to a recent poll.

WASHINGTON — Most beneficiaries of the Medicare Part D program are unaware of new measures to close the so-called “doughnut hole” coverage gap, according to a recent poll.

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 9, 2010

The second-largest Medicare Part D plan sponsor in the country has named an independent pharmacy as its pharmacy of the year.

RYE BROOK, N.Y. — The second-largest Medicare Part D plan sponsor in the country has named an independent pharmacy as its pharmacy of the year.

Universal American announced Thursday that it gave the 2010 Community CCRx Pharmacy of the Year recognition to Peterson Drug and Gifts in Mountain Lake, Minn. The award takes its name from Universal American’s Community CCRx Prescription Drug plans, in which Peterson Drug and Gifts participates.