Pharmacies advise seniors on Medicare Part D plans

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NEW YORK — Pharmacy retailers are busy informing the public about Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs). Enrollment for the 2017 plan year began October 15 and extends through December 7.

For example, CVS Pharmacy is offering an extensive array of in-store and online resources to assist senior patients in determining the best 2017 Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The information will be available in English and Spanish at all CVS Pharmacy locations.

And, the company’s online health information center, features Medicare resources for seniors.
“Selecting a Medicare Part D plan can be confusing; that’s why it’s important they understand the many plan options,” said Kevin Hourican, executive vice president of pharmacy services and supply chain at CVS Health.

CVS Health’s SilverScript Insurance Co. announced its new Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) options for 2017. Medicare beneficiaries in the continental U.S. can choose from two SilverScript plans that offer a $0 deductible on formulary drugs in all five tiers, affordable co-pays and competitive premiums.

In addition, SilverScript beneficiaries have access to one of the broadest pharmacy networks, with more than 66,000 participating pharmacies across the country, including national and regional chains and independently owned, community-based pharmacies.

“Our plans are unique in that our beneficiaries will continue to have access to a $0 deductible for drugs on all tiers of the formulary, not just for lower-tier drugs that are primarily generics. SilverScript is the only national basic plan with this feature,” said Todd Meek, president, SilverScript Insurance.

In related news, SilverScript said that it maintained its 4-star performance rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for 2017, surpassing industry standards in delivering value, clinical outcomes and customer service.

“Few plans achieve a 4-star or higher rating from CMS, and we are focused on continued improvement as we strive to maintain our performance and quality rating,” added Meek. “As an objective tool, the CMS Star Ratings system is also a helpful way for Medicare eligible individuals who are making annual coverage elections to easily identify which prescription drug plans will offer high-quality service and value and be assured of industry-leading coverage.”

Meanwhile, UnitedHealthcare has introduced a new low-premium Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in collaboration with Walgreens.

The health insurance giant said that the new AARP MedicareRx Walgreens plan is targeted toward seniors who seek the drug benefit coverage of Part D and the accessibility of filling prescriptions and shopping at Walgreens or Duane Reade, the plan’s preferred retail pharmacy chains.

“This collaboration reflects our shared commitment to helping people access the medications they need, while providing the pharmacy services and support they depend on, at affordable prices,” Brad Fluegel, senior vice president and chief health care commercial market development officer at Walgreens, said in a statement. “Prescription drug costs continue to be a concern for many Medicare beneficiaries. By working closely with UnitedHealthcare and other business partners, we’re developing innovative solutions to meet the needs of patients.”

The AARP MedicareRx Walgreens plan offers a $22.50 premium, $0 co-payments for tier 1 medications and a $0 deductible for tier 1 and tier 2 medications purchased at Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies, UnitedHealthcare said.

More than 40 tier 1 medications can be purchased via the plan for a $0 co-pay at Walgreens pharmacies, including nine of the 10 generic drugs most commonly used by UnitedHealthcare’s Part D members for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, according to the ­insurer.

The company added that nearly 80% of all prescriptions filled in 2016 by its Part D members are included on tier 1 or tier 2 of the AARP MedicareRx Walgreens plan formulary and will be available at Walgreens for a $0 to $3 co-pay in 2017.

In addition, AARP Medicare­Rx Walgreens plan members can fill 90-day prescriptions of tier 1 medications for a $0 co-pay through OptumRx, UnitedHealthcare’s preferred home delivery pharmacy, or they can refill 90-day scripts at Walgreens pharmacies for the same co-pay as for home delivery.

“The AARP MedicareRx Walgreens plan is a great choice for people seeking affordable coverage and convenient access to their medications at more than 8,000 Walgreens locations nationwide,” said Kent Monical, senior vice president of UnitedHealthcare’s Part D plans.



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