WOONSOCKET, R.I., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- CVS Corporation (NYSE: CVS), the parent company of CVS/pharmacy, announced today its comprehensive strategy for serving the more than 42 million Medicare beneficiaries eligible for the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. The plan focuses on educating and counseling seniors about the new Medicare prescription drug benefit and providing seniors with informational materials intended to assist them in selecting the plan that best meets their needs. In implementing the plan, CVS will leverage its network of more than 5,400 retail and specialty pharmacy stores across 37 states and the District of Columbia, its 15,000 highly trained and trusted community pharmacists and its pharmacy benefit management, mail order and specialty pharmacy subsidiary, PharmaCare Management Services.
To date, the company has announced strategic alliances with three of the nation's leading managed care organizations, the UnitedHealth Group (through its Ovations business unit) (NYSE: UNH), Aetna (NYSE: AET) and Humana (NYSE: HUM). In addition, PharmaCare has previously announced a strategic alliance with Universal American Financial Corp (Nasdaq: UHCO) pursuant to which PharmaCare will provide a full array of prescription benefit management services to Universal American plans on an exclusive basis. These four alliances will focus on educating Medicare beneficiaries about their prescription drug plan options via in-store and community outreach efforts. In addition, Medicare beneficiaries who select a Universal, United or Humana sponsored plan will have the ability to fill mail order prescriptions through PharmaCare.
"Our goal is to make it easier for seniors to obtain access to the new Medicare prescription drug coverage. We want to help seniors understand the new Medicare prescription drug benefit and use the benefit most effectively. By aligning with the right partners, we will seek to provide the best resources and service to Medicare beneficiaries," said Tom Ryan, Chairman, President and CEO of CVS Corporation. "Our primary goal is to educate as many seniors as possible, so they can choose the plan that's right for them."
More than 15,000 CVS pharmacists have received training about the new Medicare prescription drug benefit by participating in an accredited live Continuing Education seminar approved by the Boards of Pharmacy.
Reaching out to seniors in the community, CVS/pharmacy will host more than 500 free educational seminars at Senior Centers across the country. Presented by CVS representatives and pharmacists, the seminars called "Medicare 2006 Prescription Drug Coverage: Getting Ready to Join" will help seniors address key questions such as: Am I eligible to receive prescription drug coverage? Are my drugs covered? and, How can I join a plan? The events will also provide an overview of key deadlines and consumer resources.
Beginning October 16, Medicare Information Centers will be set up in more than 5,400 CVS/pharmacy stores across the country. The displays will feature a "Show-Me Guide" to explain how Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans will work; a "CVS Medicare 2006 Plan Decision Guide" to assist individuals in selecting a plan that best meets their needs; and materials from a number of private managed care and insurance companies that are offering Medicare 2006 prescription drug plans.
On November 1, and on every Tuesday in November, CVS/pharmacy teams will host "Medicare Guided Tours" to answer customer questions and highlight the Medicare Part D information and resources available at CVS/pharmacy stores.
In addition to information centers and signs in CVS/pharmacy stores, CVS will use a number of marketing vehicles to communicate to Medicare recipients. CVS/pharmacy will dedicate space in its Sunday advertising circular with circulation of 48 million, send direct mail to more than one million ExtraCare cardholders, and advertise in magazines such as Readers' Digest and Prevention. Information for Medicare recipients is also available online at http://www.cvs.com.
PharmaCare and Universal American
PharmaCare, a subsidiary of CVS Corporation, has formed a strategic partnership with Universal American Financial Corp., which has received, through its insurance subsidiaries, approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer Medicare prescription drug plans (PDPs) to the more than 42 million Medicare beneficiaries nationwide.
Greg Weishar, PharmaCare's President and CEO said, "We are proud to be a part of CMS' Medicare Part D solution that will assure seniors affordable access to pharmaceutical care. Through our partnership with Universal American, Medicare beneficiaries and employers nationwide will benefit from the high-quality, cost-effective pharmaceutical services that PharmaCare clients have relied upon for more than a decade."
PharmaCare and Universal American will offer PDPs to Medicare beneficiaries starting October 1, 2005, in accordance with CMS guidelines, for a January 1, 2006 effective date. Enrollment will begin on November 15, 2005. PharmaCare will serve as Universal American's exclusive, full-service prescription benefit manager, and will be responsible not only for claims processing and network contracting, but also for formulary management, disease management programs, rebates, mail order and specialty pharmacy services.
PharmaCare has been working with its employer clients over the past year to help them better understand and prepare for the upcoming PDP benefits, including helping them maximize the 28 percent drug subsidy available to employers, as well as providing comprehensive PDP services to those employers who may look for alternative coverage for their retirees. PharmaCare will also serve as the PBM for its managed care clients, including ADVANTAGE Health Solutions, Inc., HealthPartners and Fallon Health Plan, all of which will be participating in the program by offering Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans.
Information about PharmaCare and Universal American's PDP offerings will be available in all CVS/pharmacy stores and PharmaCare Specialty Pharmacy stores nationwide and online beginning October 1 at http://www.RXPathway.com. Those interested in learning more can also call toll free 1-800-765-8900 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST Monday through Friday; or 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST Saturday. TTY/TDD users should call 1-866-222-3904.
PharmaCare is one of the largest pharmaceutical benefit management companies in the country. PharmaCare helps large employers, managed care organizations, insurance companies, unions and government agencies make safe, cost effective drug decisions for over 30 million Americans. The company's comprehensive PBM services include fully integrated, state-of-the-art mail- service and specialty pharmacies. PharmaCare fills prescriptions at more than 56,800 retail pharmacies, located in all 50 states, and in nearly every city. PharmaCare is a wholly owned subsidiary of CVS Corporation.