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WellPoint launches preferred Rx network for Medicare plans
October 1st, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS – Health benefits provider WellPoint Inc. announced that it has launched a preferred pharmacy network for most Medicare drug plans in 2014.
The company said Tuesday that the preferred pharmacy network encompasses Rite Aid, Walmart and Kroger Co. pharmacies, together accounting for more than 11,000 locations nationwide.
For Walmart, the preferred pharmacies also include the retailer's Walmart Neighborhood Market and Sam's Club locations. And for Kroger, the preferred pharmacy providers include the food and drug retailer's Kroger, Fred Meyer, King Soopers, City Market, Fry's, Smith's, Dillons, Ralphs, QFC, Baker's, Scott's, Owen's, Pay Less, Gerbes and Jay C banners.
WellPoint said the preferred pharmacy network is part of all of its affiliated Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs) and most of its affiliated Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans (MAPD).
The company noted that members can any of their plans' retail network pharmacies but will get savings of about $5 to $8 per co-payment on most drugs (depending on plan type and drug tier) when using preferred network pharmacies. All stand-alone PDPs and some MAPDs also feature preferred generics for a $1 co-pay.
"Launching this preferred pharmacy network not only saves members on their drug purchases, which helps them improve their adherence and their health, but also allows WellPoint's affiliates to offer stand-alone PDP plans with more attractive premiums than in years past," Leeba Lessin, executive vice president and president of WellPoint's Medicare programs, said in a statement.
Plans call for representatives of WellPoint affiliates to staff booths at high-volume locations of preferred pharmacy providers during Medicare's annual election period, which runs Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, to discuss and sell affiliated PDP and MAPD plans. The plans go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
WellPoint said its affiliates currently serve more than 1.8 million Medicare members.