Retail News Breaks
CVS, Walgreens, Walmart bridge coverage gaps
January 2nd, 2014
NEW YORK – Retail pharmacies are taking steps to assist individuals experiencing coverage issues now that the Affordable Care Act is under way.
At CVS Caremark Corp., for example, pharmacy teams are providing information to patients so that they can help them contact the appropriate health plan or insurance exchange. "And we are communicating with insurance plans and government agencies to help minimize disruption to care," comments Helena Foulkes, president of CVS/pharmacy and executive vice president of CVS Caremark.
In some circumstances (based on clinical considerations) CVS/pharmacy is providing a 15- or 30-day “bridge’’ supply of medication for patients encountering a temporary disruption in insurance coverage. Furthermore, MinuteClinic is providing similar flexibility for patients who are in transition with their health coverage.
Likewise, Walgreen Co. is providing up to a 30-day prescription supply — at no up-front cost — for insurance market enrollees who have yet to be assigned an identification number from their insurer. “We understand that all the changes that come with health care reform may create some questions for newly enrolled individuals,’’ comments Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness.
Walgreens is also reaching out to insurance companies for nightly eligibility file updates on marketplace plan enrollees, and pharmacy staff is individually reviewing patient benefits and working with insurers directly to confirm benefit eligibility.
Similarly (through the end of January) Walmart is filling up to a 30-day supply of prescriptions without up-front costs to customers enrolled in marketplace plans but awaiting identification information. “Our pharmacists will also provide assistance in verifying enrollment,’’ says John Agwunobi, senior vice president of health and wellness.
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