The Kroger Co. and Safeway Inc. are participating in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D program designed to lower members' out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

UnitedHealthcare, Kroger, Safeway, Pharmacy Saver, Medicare Part D, prescription drugs, Prescription Solutions, UnitedHealth Group, Tom Paul, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, prescription drug benefits

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Kroger, Safeway take part in UnitedHealth Part D program

November 29th, 2010

MINNETONKA, Minn. – The Kroger Co. and Safeway Inc. are participating in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D program designed to lower members' out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

Called Pharmacy Saver, the program aims to reduces members' immediate costs on prescriptions bought at participating pharmacies to prices even lower than their co-payments, sometimes as low as $2 for a 30- or 90-day supply, according to UnitedHealthcare. Pharmacy Saver applies to hundreds of prescription drugs, including eight of the top 10 generic drugs most commonly used by UnitedHealthcare's Medicare plan members.

Also collaborating on Pharmacy Saver is mail-order pharmacy provider Prescription Solutions, a UnitedHealth Group company. The program applies to UnitedHealthcare's Medicare Part D members in 2011, including most of those who receive their prescription drug benefits in tandem with a Medicare Advantage plan from UnitedHealthcare, such as AARP MedicareComplete, UnitedHealthcare said.

"Economic pressures are putting a strain on many people's budgets, including many seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries living on fixed incomes," Tom Paul, chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, said in a statement. "Pharmacy Saver is another example of our promise to provide our members with affordable prescription drugs."

Pharmacy Saver is an extension of UnitedHealthcare's Savings Promise pledge that its Part D plan members will get the lowest available price on their prescription medications, the company reported. The lowest price could be their co-pay, the pharmacy's retail price or a specially negotiated rate — whichever is the best deal for the member. UnitedHealthcare said Pharmacy Saver members will see their typical out-of-pocket cost for a 30-day supply of select medications decrease to as low as $2 when they purchase their prescriptions from pharmacies participating in the program.

Starting Jan. 1, members can take advantage of Pharmacy Saver through Prescription Solutions mail order and at more than 3,000 pharmacy locations nationwide, currently including food and drug stores under banners of The Kroger Co. (Kroger, Ralphs, King Soopers, City Market, Dillons, Smith's, Fry's, QFC, Baker's, Owen's, JayC, Hilander, Gerbes, Pay Less, Scott's and Fred Meyer) and Safeway Inc. (Safeway, Vons, Randalls, Genuardi's, Carrs, Dominick's, Pavilions and Tom Thumb).

"We believe it's important that our members have the flexibility to access their drugs in the way that's most comfortable and convenient for them," stated Paul. "In developing Pharmacy Saver, we worked to ensure that our members could take advantage of the cost savings regardless of whether they prefer to purchase their drugs in a retail pharmacy or through the mail."

UnitedHealthcare added that it plans to work with more pharmacies to bring additional savings to members in 2011.