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Hawaii becomes third state to recently enact pharmacy choice legislation

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Tuesday praised Hawaii elected officials for enacting two new laws that, respectively, will give the state’s residents greater choice of where to fill their prescriptions and additional medical privacy protections. NCPA fully supported HB 62 and HB 65, both of which passed the Hawaii House and Senate unanimously and were signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on June 27.

HB 62 restricts the ability of PBMs to utilize patients’ private medical information as a marketing tool in an effort to promote “preferred pharmacy” plans affiliated with the PBM.

HB 65 enables many patients to have their prescriptions filled at a retail pharmacy instead of being required to use mail order facilities. 

“NCPA appreciates the overwhelming support Hawaii’s elected officials have shown for this pro-patient, pro-pharmacist, pro-local economy legislation," stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. "We congratulate the community pharmacists whose grassroots efforts made this accomplishment possible and NCPA was proud to work closely with them in supporting these bills.” 

Hawaii follows Pennsylvania and New York as states that have recently enacted laws giving patients more freedom from mandatory mail order requirements, NCPA noted.


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New York-based group wins Target, Fast Company prize for group-shopping app

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. and Fast Company magazine have named a group of New York-based developers as the winners of a contest to develop an app to improve the mobile shopping experience for Target customers.

The mass merchandise retailer and business magazine said a group calling itself Team Pilot had won the $75,000 grand prize in the Co.Labs & Target Retail Accelerator contest with their app, Divvy. Divvy is designed to improve the group shopping experience by allowing multiple users to update a shopping list in real time while making it easier to split the bill and distribute receipts.

"The Retail Accelerator set out to find fresh and innovative ideas for a new mobile experience for Target, and the developer community absolutely exceeded our expectations," Target president of multichannel and SVP enterprise strategy Casey Carl said. "Selecting a winner wasn’t easy. But Team Pilot’s ability to make group shopping more convenient and seamless for guests made the project stand out above the others."

The contest drew more than 350 registrants and 76 completed entries between March and April 2013, with seven finalists selected by a panel of Target, Fast Company and other executives.


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Walgreens, Blue Cross Blue Shield partner on market solution for education around Affordable Care Act

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association on Wednesday launched a national campaign to educate consumers about the new healthcare reform law and provide them with key information on how to access coverage and understand other changes they may experience as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The campaign centers on a new web site, LearnAboutReform.com, which offers consumers helpful information about the new ways they will be able to purchase health insurance and the new benefits available to them. Informational brochures will also be offered to consumers at nearly all Walgreens locations across the country.

“The Affordable Care Act will expand access to health insurance for millions of Americans and broaden health benefits, but many Americans have had little experience purchasing health coverage and are confused about what the law means to them,” stated Maureen Sullivan, BCBSA SVP strategic services and chief strategy officer. “Blue Plans have been working hard to help consumers navigate this new environment and the coverage options that are available to them. Our partnership with Walgreens is another example of our commitment to ensuring that all Americans have the tools they need to understand these changes and access affordable health insurance coverage that meets their needs.”

“Walgreens is a trusted community resource for health and wellness information, and through this collaboration we hope the millions of Americans who will be entering the marketplace in October are more informed and better prepared,” added Brad Fluegel, Walgreens SVP and chief strategy officer. “There’s a lot of confusion, a lot of questions and it’ll take a tremendous, collaborative effort to make sure people have the information they need to make informed choices.”

The Affordable Care Act expands access to insurance for millions of Americans who currently lack coverage, providing new protections for American families as well as new options and requirements for employers. It also changes how individuals and some small businesses purchase coverage. The law is complex, and these changes can be a lot to absorb for consumers. This educational campaign will help them understand their options.

LearnAboutReform.com will serve as a comprehensive guide to the law so that consumers can make informed health care choices this fall. 

Website features include:

  • Easy-to-understand explanations of what the new law means for consumers;
  • Frequently asked questions about eligibility for federal financial assistance, the individual mandate and penalties for not purchasing insurance;
  • An explanation of the enrollment process, and how the new Health Insurance Marketplace or “exchanges” will work;
  • Interactive links to a glossary of terms related to healthcare reform; and
  • The campaign also will include informational brochures and signage in Walgreens locations nationwide to encourage consumers to learn about reform and the new exchanges.

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