Walgreens Pharmacists Help Medicare Beneficiaries Navigate Changes in Medicare Part D

Free personalized report available at every Walgreens pharmacy helps make sorting through options easier this open enrollment period

DEERFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- With open enrollment for Medicare Part D drug plans under way, experts are urging Medicare beneficiaries to closely consider all their options as health care reform legislation brings significant changes to the program.

This year the dates for open enrollment, or the Medicare Annual Election Period, have been moved up nearly a month compared to previous years. Medicare enrollees have until Dec. 7 to review their coverage options for 2012.

Again this year, Walgreens pharmacists will be one of the best resources for Medicare Part D information, offering a free plan comparison report generated from Medicare's online plan finder at any of its more than 7,700 locations. The report is personalized based on the individual’s current medications making it easier for Medicare beneficiaries to choose a plan for the first time or determine if their current plan is still the best fit for their needs.

Patients can now schedule appointments for a Medicare Part D plan review at their local pharmacy or at walgreens.com/medicare. Pharmacists also are available to review plans on a walk-in basis and nearly 4,000 Walgreens stores around the country will host representatives from Medicare Part D plans who will provide information and can help people enroll in plans that best fit their needs.

The report details each plan’s estimated annual costs including monthly premiums, brand and generic co-pays and coverage through the coverage gap. Medicare beneficiaries also should ensure their pharmacy of choice is in their plan’s network. Walgreens will be in the network of hundreds of Medicare prescription plans next year.

As part of health care reform efforts to make Medicare Part D more affordable, beneficiaries who reach their coverage gap, or “doughnut hole,” will receive a discount of 50 percent on most brand-name drugs and 14 percent on generics. The federal government estimates that these new discounts will save the average Medicare Part D beneficiary who reaches the doughnut hole next year $654. Under health care reform, the Medicare Part D coverage gap will be phased out by 2020.

“There are substantial savings available to Medicare Part D beneficiaries this year, so it’s important they know their options to realize these benefits,” said Suzanne Hansen, group vice president of pharmacy operations. “Our pharmacists are among the most trusted and accessible sources for help with making an informed plan choice. They can’t decide for you, but they can certainly be a resource to help you understand your options.”

UnitedHealthcare’s free Medicare brochure titled “Medicare Made Clear,” also will be available at Walgreens pharmacies. The brochure outlines in simple, easy-to-understand language 10 key facts about Medicare.

For more information on Medicare Part D counseling services available at Walgreens, contact your local pharmacy or go to www.walgreens.com/medicare.

Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (NASDAQ: WAG) (www.walgreens.com) is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2010 sales of $72 billion. The company operates 7,779 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multi-channel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.


Robert Elfinger, (847) 315-2962

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