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Wal-Mart's shockingly cheap drug plan
The retailer partners with Humana to beat out other plans for Medicare recipients.
Wal-Mart (WMT) upended the drug industry in 2006 by offering $4 generic drugs. Now the retailing giant is at it again, unveiling the cheapest prescription drug plan in the country.
Wal-Mart has partnered with health insurance company Humana (HUM) and will offer the plan to people on Medicare, Bloomberg reports. Starting Jan. 1, the plan will cost only $14.80 a month -- less than half the average Medicare premium for prescription drugs.
It's a win-win for both companies. Humana wants to boost its market share and hopes Wal-Mart will bring in enough business to keep its drug plans profitable. Wal-Mart wants more people to visit its pharmacies instead of Walgreens (WAG) or CVSCaremark (CVS).
The companies said the typical Medicare prescription-drug customer could save $450 a year with the new plan, which also has lower copayments and cost shares, according to Dow Jones Newswires. At specific pharmacies -- such as, oh, say, Wal-Mart's -- the copayment could be as low as $2 for generic drugs. Humana's mail-order service will have zero copay.
Already analysts predict a price war as other retailers and drugstores scramble to match Wal-Mart's pricing. "We would not be surprised if rival insurers form joint plans with other pharmacy chains," said Standard & Poor's analyst Phillip Seligman, according to Dow Jones.
People can enroll in the new plan from Nov. 15 through the end of the year. Click here for more information.
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About 18 million Medicare beneficiaries have signed up for prescription-drug-only plans, Reuters reported.
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At a quick glance the Humana/Walmart Partnership sounds good. HOWEVER, when folks sign up for HUMANA's plan, they MUST use Walmart, and pay $2 vs $4 for generic drugs. NOW that is going to the coverage Gap. Many of my clients (I am an insurance agent) use W/M for the $4 generics and pay cash and use their drug insurance Part D for the NON generics.. This keeps them out of the donut hole longer. With this marriage of HUMANA and Walmart, the Medicare Beneficiary will Lose.... Those folks who are close to the donut hole each year... don't jump too quick. Put a pencil to it first!
As long as I can afford to pay to go to Walgreen's for my drugs I'll do it, because the long lines and overworked staff at my local Walmart is terrible. Plus, it seems like I get drugs from a different manufacturer every time I go to Walmart; sometimes the different type of pill really upsets my stomach, I get used to tolerating one type, and they change, it's terrible.
I use the "W" card from Walgreen's and it saves me a lot of money. I choose not to use the poor mail order plan from Anthem (forced to use or they won't pay), it's more expensive than using the "W" card. Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield is a joke. If you have Anthem, you better pray you don't get sick.
please look at the total costs before saying this wal-mart plan is the cheapest. a $300+ dedectible adds to that plan charge. so it's $45 a month.
then the copay would for me increase by $2 X 8 meds , so another $16.
so for me it'd be a lot higher than my current part d plan and higher than a few more.
seems those writeing this blog work or were paid by wal-mart
some of us don't have the luxury of picking and choosing where we buy, some in rural areas or on fixed budgets must choose price and convenience over political correctness and fake environmental concerns.it's okay we know gay people don't like walmart,but don't try and convince me they are evil.i still think you are evil.
Good!!! About time the blood sucking pharmaceutical industry got a kick in the behind. Gee, you may need to wait??? Waah, waah, better than paying hundreds of dollars for prescriptions.
FDA approval means little or nothing. They continually approve medicine, then three to five years later find the drugs they approved kill and maim the people taking the prescriptions.
You CAN'T directly compete with Wal-Mart. K-Mart found that out. You have to offer a completely different type of service which Wal-Mart doesn't offer. Target found that niche. In this case, another pharmacy might as well forget the idea about trying to sell their drugs the same price or lower than Wal-Mart .... you'll soon go bankrupt.
Instead, use some inventive & unique offerings which simply can not fit into Wal-Mart's business model. An example may be to advertise something like, "All drugs made in the U.S.A., rigourously tested, & certified free of any foreign material." DON'T mention Wal-Mart's name, or even imply that ("the other guy"), so you give them no reason to sue. Of course the only problem with this approach is that patriotism pretty much shut down about the same time people decided religion was a horrible thing. So that "U.S.A." title doesn't mean what it use to for people. But at least some of us still hold things like that important.
Another possibility is to figure out a few ways for a pharmacy to become very important for the community it's located in. Basically this means that pharmacys need to dump the idea of locating in large towns for a larger customer base, which is, once again, Wal-Mart's territory. You WILL lose. Cater to each individual smaller community. Family Dollar & Dollar General have figured this out & are expanding explosively.
Finally, there are LOT of young college educated marketing people available out there. This is what we are trained on & we know how to make a business succeed in any specific scenario. USE us!! The benefits you will receive down the road from our expertise will GREATLY out-weigh the expense of hiring us.
The commissary to America.
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