Humana, Wal-Mart sign Medicare drug plan deal

The deal highlights private plans' desire to tap into what is expected to be a lucrative business.

By Bob Cook — Posted Aug. 1, 2005

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

In another sign of how aggressively health plans are moving to capture the upcoming Medicare drug plan market, Humana says it is joining with retail giant Wal-Mart to offer the new Part D prescription drug plan to seniors.

Humana and Wal-Mart say they plan to offer a co-branded prescription card to Medicare recipients. The card can be used at the pharmacies within stores operated by the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer, which has 3,600 outlets, including Wal-Mart stores and Supercenters, the Sam's Club bulk-sales club outlet, and the Neighborhood Market grocery chain. They also can be used at other pharmacies as well, the companies said.

Enrollment for the new Medicare prescription plan, which is administered by private payers, begins Nov. 15, while the plan itself begins Jan. 1, 2006. The drug plan was passed by Congress as part of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.

Analysts considered access to a large senior population a catalyst for Minneapolis, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group's recently announced $8.1 billion acquisition of Cypress, Calif.-based PacifiCare Health Systems, a plan whose Secure Horizons division is the largest private administrator of Medicare plans. The transaction needs approval from federal and state regulators.

United also recently signed a deal allying with AARP to administer a Medicare prescription program.

According to company filings, Medicare already makes up about 24% of Humana's annual premiums and administrative services fees.

But it wants more. Louisville, Ky.-based Humana said it had applied with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to expand its Medicare business next year to 46 states from its current 25. The company also says it planned to hire about 1,800 employees, on top its current base of 13,000, to handle the Medicare business.

Financial details of the agreement with Wal-Mart were not disclosed.

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn