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Pharmacy chains step up Part D assistance

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Resources also offered for Health Insurance Marketplace

NEW YORK — Chain drug retailers have begun extensive outreach programs to provide consumers with access to information and resources for Medicare Part D and Health Insurance Marketplace coverage options.

Medicare Part D annual enrollment began Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. The enrollment period for Marketplace plans is Nov. 1, 2015, to January 31, 2016.

For example, CVS/pharmacy’s enhanced Health Insurance Information Center is described as a one-stop online destination for customers with health insurance questions related to Medicare Part D, Marketplace and Medicaid health coverage. On the website, consumers can easily find information about Medicare Part D coverage options, determine their eligibility, and find and compare Part D plans.

They can also use the Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator on the website to get an estimate of their eligibility for subsidies and how much they could spend on health insurance in the Marketplace. An online listing of in-store insurance informational events being held at selected CVS/pharmacy locations nationwide is also ­available.

“Ensuring that consumers can easily access information to help them make choices about health insurance coverage that is right for their individual needs is part of our purpose of helping people on their path to better health,” Josh Flum, executive vice president of pharmacy services at CVS Health, said in a statement.

CVS/pharmacy will offer convenient access to local and national health insurance plan materials in both English and Spanish in over 7,500 locations nationwide.  In addition, more than 12,000 events will be held in selected CVS/pharmacy stores across the country.

Free drug plan guidance for senior citizens is also offered by Hy-Vee Inc. as the Iowa-based retailer leverages its iMedicare software application to allow patients to better navigate their way through the maze of health care options.

Hy-Vee pharmacists are using iMedicare, a Web and mobile platform, to identify Part D plans specific to each patient and therapeutically equivalent alternatives that are covered by the patient’s insurance plan.

“We are thrilled to announce our collaboration with iMedicare,” commented Bob Egeland, Hy-Vee’s vice president of pharmacy. “We’re committed to putting our customers’ needs first.”

Similarly, Rite Aid pharmacies nationwide are providing free resources to help their senior customers select the right prescription drug plan or update their existing coverage during the annual Medicare Part D enrollment period. Customers can use Rite Aid’s Medicare Advisor to request the three lowest-cost prescription drug plans based on current prescriptions filled at Rite Aid.

Rite Aid’s Medicare Advisor is available at any Rite Aid pharmacy and can also be accessed online.

“As a retail health care company, Rite Aid is committed to providing its customers with the resources they need to help them reach their goal of leading healthier lives,” stated Jocelyn Konrad, executive vice president of pharmacy at Rite Aid. “The Medicare Part D enrollment period is the perfect time for our patients to speak with our pharmacists about the tools we offer, including Medicare Advisor, which can help them select the drug plan to best fit their prescription needs.”

With Medicare Advisor, customers can compare the estimated annual costs of various plans, including monthly premiums, brand and generic co-pays and drugs covered. Customers can then discuss their Medicare Advisor report with a Rite Aid pharmacist. Rite Aid is in the networks of hundreds of other Medicare prescription drug plans.

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