Medicare beneficiaries who need some explanation about their new health benefits under health reform don’t have to look past their pharmacy for help.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that the department is working with Walgreens and other pharmacies to help customers learn about new Medicare benefits available under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Walgreens will provide Medicare beneficiaries a range of educational materials on newly available preventive services, as well as savings on prescription drug spending in the “donut hole” coverage gap.
Sebelius notes “these partnerships will help people with Medicare learn more about new preventive services such as mammograms and the new annual wellness visit that are available at no charge for everyone with Medicare.”
Walgreens says it’s working to increase awareness of preventive services available under Medicare by distributing information in nearly 8,000 pharmacies and more than 360 Take Care Clinic locations, as well as using in-store announcements and providing this information as part of its “Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with AARP.”
“With a Walgreens pharmacy within three miles of nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population, we are well-positioned to not only inform Medicare beneficiaries of these new features, but also to provide access to these valuable health care services,” says Debbie Garza, Walgreens divisional vice president of government relations.
Walgreens pharmacies offer Medicare patients a number of services including direct billing to Medicare Part B and D, administration of Medicare covered immunizations and prescription drug plan reviews by Walgreens pharmacists to help patients pick a plan that best fits their medication needs. The drugstore giant also offers Medicare preventive visits and yearly wellness visits.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, only 6.5 percent of eligible seniors have used their Medicare wellness visit benefit. The benefit is available upon enrollment and then once a year with no out-of-pocket costs.