Medicare Part D plan can save typical enrollees an average of more than $450 in 2011, companies say
Oct. 4, 2010 – Walmart is shaking up the Medicare drug marketplace again. They shocked the competition in September of 2006 with the announcement they were making generic drugs available for $4 per prescription. This time, as the cost soars for the most popular Medicare drug plans, the discounter is joining with Humana to introduce a national Medicare drug plan with a very low monthly premium of just $14.80 plus low copays and cost-shares.
Humana Inc. on October 1 announced the innovative Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, co-branded with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (“Walmart”), that it says “can provide significant savings on monthly plan premiums and prescription medicine copayments and cost-shares for Medicare beneficiaries, including seniors and people with disabilities.”
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The Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (PDP) offers one low national monthly plan premium of $14.80 – according to CMS,(1) the lowest national plan premium in 2011 for a standalone Medicare Part D plan premium offered in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
This new co-branded prescription drug plan can save a typical Medicare Part D beneficiary who enrolls in the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (PDP) an estimated average of more than $450(2) in 2011 on plan premiums and prescription medication copayments and cost-shares when compared with the average total costs for a Part D prescription drug plan in 2010.
With nearly 18 million Americans relying on Medicare Part D for their prescriptions, (3) the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (PDP) provides an affordable prescription solution for those who need it most, according to the Humana statement.
“One of the primary goals of health care reform is to make health coverage more affordable – and that’s what we’re doing with the introduction of this low-cost Medicare Part D plan,” said William Fleming, PharmD, vice president of Humana Pharmacy Solutions.
“People are more likely to take the medications prescribed for them when they can afford those medications. And adhering to prescription-drug regimens can enable people to be healthier and prevent future illness. At Humana, we believe that this prevention helps people live healthier lives and achieve lifelong well-being.”
“We know every dollar counts, especially when you live on a fixed income. We believe no one should have to choose between buying their groceries or their medications,” said John Agwunobi, M.D., president of Walmart’s Health and Wellness division.
“Financial health is a fundamental part of a person’s well-being. At Walmart, the customer is always front and center, and that is why we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure seniors have access to the medications they need at a price they can afford.”
Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (PDP): Benefits and Details
● One low monthly rate nationwide. The monthly plan premium is less than $15 a month for everyone, regardless of where they live.
● According to CMS, the $14.80 monthly plan premium is the lowest national plan premium in 2011 for a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan offered in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. (1)
● The Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (PDP) offers a monthly plan premium of $14.80, which is less than half the weighted 2010 national average for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans’ monthly plan premiums. (4)
● Low copayments when plan members use preferred pharmacies like Walmart, Neighborhood Market or Sam’s Club pharmacies:
● In-store copayments (at preferred pharmacies) on generic prescriptions start as low as $2 when plan members use preferred pharmacies.
● Copayments as low as $0 for generic prescriptions filled via Humana’s RightSource home-delivery prescription service.
● A broad competitive formulary comparable to other plans, with a list of prescription drugs included in the plan available at humana-medicare.com.
NCPA: Walmart Medicare Drug Plan a Prescription for Poor Pharmacy Care
Plan penalizes seniors who prefer independent pharmacies over Walmart
Oct. 4, 2010 – Everyone was not happy with the new Humana-Walmart Plan. In response to the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) President and Arlington, Texas, pharmacy owner Joseph H. Harmison, PD, claimed it “imposes higher co-payments on seniors who choose to continue using their trusted local, community pharmacy.”
They issued the following statement:
“This is simply Walmart’s latest ‘loss leader,’ intended to bring more people through its doors at the expense of patient care and quality customer service. Patients taking a brand name drug or who can’t or don’t want to take a therapeutic substitute for the drug their doctor prescribed may see little, if any, savings.
“What’s more, patients are being financially coerced to get their medications at Walmart stores which make up less than seven percent of all of the retail pharmacies in the U.S.
“The newly released J.D. Power and Associates 2010 National Pharmacy Study affirms that patients continue to give Walmart pharmacies very poor marks. The company garnered industry-low customer satisfaction ratings for both its retail and mail order pharmacies.
“The negative views patients have toward Walmart pharmacy persist despite high profile, multi-million dollar campaigns, such as promoting $4 generic drugs. In fact, many independent community pharmacists saw patients return to their pharmacies once they experienced the wait times and assembly-line service first-hand.
“By contrast, independent community pharmacies earned among the highest customer satisfaction scores of all pharmacies. That’s due in large part to the sterling customer service and competitive pricing that these local pharmacies offer. The relationships independent pharmacists have with their patients also greatly encourage better patient adherence to their prescribed medication regimen, which can lower overall health care costs.
“As NCPA reviews the Walmart plan, we intend on reading the fine print. For example, we want to ensure the plan adheres to Medicare’s marketing and plan guidelines. We also will learn more about how the plan may disadvantage other pharmacies and their patients and will respond accordingly.”
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America’s community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA’s blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association
Web Site: http://www.ncpanet.org
How to Enroll in the Plan: Call, Click or Go
● Information on the plan is available starting October 1; annual enrollment for Medicare plans begins Monday, Nov. 15, 2010 and continues through Dec. 31, 2010. To get more information on the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (PDP) and to learn more about these savings:
● Call Humana to enroll at 1-800-899-0441. For TTY, call 711, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
● Click on humana-medicare.com or medicare.gov to enroll.
● Click on walmart.com/rxplan or samsclub.com/rxplan for additional plan details and links to enroll.
● Visit a Walmart store to speak to a Humana representative.
● Informational kiosks, including many staffed by Humana representatives, are available in approximately 3,000 Walmart stores across the country. Medicare beneficiaries can click on “Find a Location Near You” at walmart.com/rxplan to locate an on-site Humana representative.
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