A number of large pharmacy chains have partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help inform customers about new Medicare benefits available under the Obama administration’s health care reform law. The participating pharmacy chains include CVS Caremark, Walgreens, Thrifty White, Walmart, and Sam’s Club.
The new Medicare benefits include free preventive services, such as mammograms and annual wellness visits, as well as coverage of prescription drug costs that formerly fell in the “donut hole” coverage gap. The participating pharmacies will inform customers of the new benefits through a variety of means, including brochures, in-store announcements, and online communications.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the partnership on August 15, 2012, during a visit to a CVS Caremark pharmacy in Jacksonville, Florida, where she also received a free blood pressure screening. Brian Gallagher, BSPharm, JD, senior vice president of government affairs at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), applauded the elements of the health care reform law highlighted by the partnership.
“Whether one is politically liberal or conservative, the health care reform legislation contains many pharmacy-friendly provisions that are helpful to patients,” said Gallagher in an article on the APhA’s website. “Free preventive care for seniors is good for patients and good for the health care system because prevention and early diagnosis save money and improve the quality of life for patients.”