Retail News Breaks
Walmart, Humana offer low-cost Medicare Rx plan
October 1st, 2010
BENTONVILLE, Ark. and LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Walmart is partnering with health insurer Humana Inc. to offer a co-branded Medicare Part D prescription drug plan that they tout as carrying the lowest national monthly premium in the country.
The two companies said Friday that the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan offers one monthly plan premium of $14.80 regardless of where patients live, which they report is the lowest national plan premium in 2011 for a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan premium offered in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
A typical Medicare Part D beneficiary enrolling in the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan can save an estimated average of $450 in 2011 on plan premiums and prescription medication co-payments and cost shares when compared with the average total costs for a Part D prescription drug plan in 2010, according to Walmart and Humana.
The companies noted that with about 18 million Americans relying on Medicare Part D for their prescriptions, the co-branded drug plan offers an affordable option for medication coverage to those who need it most, namely senior citizens and people with disabilities.
"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," John Agwunobi, president of Walmart's health and wellness division, said in a statement. "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."
Agwunobi pointed out in a conference call on the new drug plan that the offering builds on Walmart's landmark $4 generic prescription program, which he said has saved patients roughly $3.4 billion since its introduction in 2006.
Other benefits and details of the Humana-Walmart drug plan, the companies said, include low co-payments when plan members use preferred pharmacies like Walmart, Neighborhood Market or Sam's Club pharmacies; in-store co-payments on generic prescriptions as low as $2 when members use preferred pharmacies; co-payments as low as no charge for generic prescriptions filled via Humana's RightSource home delivery prescription service; and a broad competitive formulary comparable to those other plans.
"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," stated William Fleming, 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."
Informational kiosks, including many staffed by Humana representatives, are available in about 3,000 Walmart stores nationwide to help people learn more about the co-branded Medicare Part D plan and find out how to enroll. Those interested also can call Humana or visit humana-medicare.com or medicare.gov to enroll, as well as go to walmart.com/rxplan or samsclub.com/rxplan for additional plan details and links to enroll.
Walmart and Humana added that information on the co-branded drug plan is available starting Oct. 1 while annual enrollment for Medicare plans begins Nov. 15 and runs through Dec. 31.
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