A new plan operated jointly by insurer Humana and retail giant Walmart, is it the best?

There are many new developments in the world of Medicare. And, with many seniors beginning their decision process, it is important to know some of these changes are good and some are bad. One of the new developments getting a good deal of attention is the new plan operated jointly by insurer Humana and retail giant Walmart. However, according to a recent AP article (Walmart Drug Plan for Seniors May Not Be Best Deal), the plan has equal measures of good and bad, too. The plan has the lowest monthly premium, almost half the average, at $14.80. Nevertheless, the important question whether it is good for you. The possible drawbacks to the plan come from the attending reliance on Walmart, since the costs are only cheap for the “preferred” pharmacies at Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Neighborhood Market Stores (i.e., about 4,000 of the 60,000 pharmacies at which members can fill their prescriptions). If you are unable to fill your prescription at a preferred Walmart location (e.g., your prescription is not carried or if their locations are too far to be convenient), then you will be forced to go to a non-“Preferred” pharmacy where your co-pay could be as high as 50%. Bottom line: Before committing to the Walmart/Humana plan be sure your prescriptions are covered and access is easy. Expect to hear more about the plan in the news, perhaps for the bad aspects over the good, as detractors have worries about the affect competition on small, local pharmacies.

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