Thursday, March 18, 2010

Medicaid Prescription Drugs? If you can find them...

The Medicaid prescription drug program has so far done a decent job of keeping costs within original projections. That's probably about to change. It's been pretty common for smaller pharmacies to not take on new Medicare patients. They don't get that good a deal on the drugs and would have to sell them at a loss. After all, the pharmacy is only reimbursed 86% of the average wholesale price. That number has now dropped to 84% and Walgreens has all of the Walgreens in Washington state have officially bowed out of serving new Medicare patients. Walgreens isn't a small independent or even a small chain. They're huge. If they can't cover the cost, then there is a big problem on the horizon. Medicaid is either going to have to start raising what they reimburse or cutting deals with pharmacies to keep them covering new patients to the program.

EDIT: Looked into it and this decision only covers the state of Washington for now. That's not as bad as I originally thought but it's still 121 stores. And if the tactic works there, you can bet it'll be carried over to the rest of their stores.

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