Safeway announces $4 generics program
NEW YORK The legion of stores offering generic prescription drugs for $4 has a new member.
Safeway began offering the prescriptions Wednesday in stores in New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and the Chicago area. It launched a trial run of the program in Houston and Dallas in March.
Safeway joins Wal-Mart, which began offering a similar program in 2006, and Target soon followed suit. Belgium-based food retailer Delhaize Group announced last month that it would offer a discount program at its stores in the U.S., as did several other supermarket chains.
Microsoft, TriZetto offer insurance self-management tool for consumers
NEWPORT, Calif. The TriZetto Group has announced an agreement with Microsoft under which TriZetto will develop a connector for its payer customers that enables members of health plans to use TriZetto’s Member Benefit Profile application with Microsoft’s HealthVault.
The Member Benefit Profile software gives plan members a Web-based, personalized healthcare financial statement. A display summarizes information about health status, medical treatments, insurance claims, remaining deductibles, status of pre-authorizations, reimbursements and medical account fund balances, available online or as a hard-copy. HealthVault is a secure Web-based platform that helps patients collect, store and share health information with family members and participating healthcare providers. It brings together third-party applications and tools that enable individuals to manage their fitness, diet and health.
“This agreement is another example of our commitment to enabling Integrated Healthcare Management, the systematic application of processes and shared information to optimize the coordination of benefits and care for the consumer,” said Jeff Hensley, chief technology officer at TriZetto. “With IHM, we empower consumers with tools to take a more active role in managing their own health and care through access to information. The connector between the Member Benefit Profile software and HealthVault will provide improved portability of information for consumers, as well as provide a health information portability solution for payers that will enhance their ability to serve employer groups.”
TriZetto will make the connector between the Member Benefit Profile application and HealthVault available to its payer customers later this year.
NACDS commends Sen. for credit card legislation
ALEXANDRIA, Va. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., recently introduced legislation to address excessive fees imposed by credit card companies for retail transactions. As a result, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has commended the senator on his work.
The association went on to say that excessive “interchange” fees for credit card transactions increase costs for retailers and lead to higher prices for consumers. Because of the market power held by major credit card companies, merchants are currently unable to negotiate fair fees. Sen. Durbin’s bill, the Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2008 (S. 3086), would ensure that interchange fees are set in open negotiations between retailers and credit card companies, helping to level the playing field for merchants and the customers they serve.
This bill mirrors H.R. 5546, which was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by House Judiciary chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., and Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah.
“Pharmacy is a low margin business,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. “Money that we are forced to pay credit card companies for excessive interchange fees cannot be devoted to helping consumers lower their prescription drug costs, assisting patients with medication management or other pharmacy services they need. We are very pleased that both the House and Senate have recognized the need for this legislation, and we thank Sen. Durbin for his leadership in the Senate.”