Previously, it was important to raise the question of an interest in Medicare D(isaster) by Wal-Mart, although any information suggesting such was limited.
My sis was told by the ins. co. that is available to her that she should go and ask a Walmart pharmacist for answers.
Business Week also mentioned that there was
a marketing deal with Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
A separate article states
Each [Medicare Disaster] plan has different premiums, different co-payments, different lists of covered drugs, and different networks of participating pharmacies.
A fourth article states
Some private insurers offering the optional drug coverage, including Humana and Cigna, have partnered with major chains such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, CVS and Eckerd to co-market their prescription cards. In some cases, multiple retailers’ name and logos are printed right on the patient’s prescription card. In others, just one drugstore name is featured on the card.
A logo, or the different logos are printed on the prescription card can give those cardholders the impression their Medicare D(isaster) Plan is valid only at the pharmacies w/the printed logo. This has caused some concern for independent pharmacies who do not benefit from the lack of advertising for their business.
To maintain its customer base, Kerr Drug, a regional chain based in Raleigh, has sent direct mailings to customers and has posted signs in its stores reading
“We accept all Medicare prescription cards, even if our name does not appear on your new card.”
Mark Gregory, vice president of pharmacy for Kerr Drug is quoted:
“The automatic assumption is that they are locked into those retailers…We actually had a lot of calls from customers saying, ‘Can I still come to Kerr Drug?”
An independet pharmacist Mike James, who owns Person Street Pharmacy realized there is a problem with “co-branded” cards after a few longtime Medicare customers called to transfer their prescriptions, as
the customers said they had signed up for a Medicare drug card that said they had to go to a specific store.
This has created concern among other pharmacies, which fear that some drugstores are benefiting at the expense of others.
Eckerd, whose logo appears on some Cigna and Humana prescription cards, has also posted signs at its stores to remind customers that it accepts all Medicare D(isaster) insurance plans.
Gloria Barone of Cigna explained that the placing of
a drugstore’s logo on the card is one way an insurer can reward its retail partners for their help enrolling members.
Dr. Scott Latimer, a market president for Humana’s Medicare products justifies the logos on the cards as a method to
point members to pharmacies that have contracted with Humana to provide the lowest prices.
Humana also has Medicare Part D sales representatives inside some Wal-Mart stores and markets a card that carries only the Wal-Mart logo.
Medicare rules allow insurers to establish co-marketing relationships with pharmacies, but the rules don’t say specifically how those relationships should work. Insurers benefit from the deals by gaining access to a pharmacy’s customer base.
Peter Ashkenaz of CMS said:
the agency is monitoring Part D plans’ marketing practices and has seen no evidence that consumers are being inappropriately steered.