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WellPoint launches preferred pharmacy network for Medicare

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS — Health insurer WellPoint said Tuesday that most of its affiliated Medicare drug plans and medical plans with drug coverage will participate in a preferred pharmacy network that includes Rite Aid, Kroger and Walmart pharmacies.

Together, WellPoint said, members had access to more than 11,000 locations around the country. The preferred pharmacy network is part of all of WellPoint’s affiliated Part D standalone prescription drug plans and most of its Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans.

"Launching this preferred pharmacy network not only saves members on their drug purchases, which helps them improve their adherence and their health, but also allows WellPoint’s affiliates to offer standalone PDP plans with more attractive premiums than in years past," WellPoint EVP and president for Medicare programs Leeba Lessin said.

Members can use any of the company’s retail network pharmacies, but they will receive savings of $5-$8 per co-pay on most drugs, depending on plan type and drug tier for using preferred network pharmacies. Additionally, all standalone PDP plans and a few MAPD plans will feature preferred generics for a $1 co-payment.

Representatives of WellPoint affiliates will staff booths at high-volume locations of the stores during Medicare’s Annual Election Period, which is between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7.

Chains in the network include Kroger, Fred Meyer, King Soopers, City Market, Fry’s, Smith’s, Dillons, Ralphs, QFC, Baker’s, Scott’s, Owen’s, Pay Less, Gerbes and JayC, as well as Walmart, Walmart Neighborhood Market and Sam’s Club.

 

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Former Dollar General executive signs on with SMS Assist

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — SMS Assist on Tuesday named Geoffrey Wigner EVP facilities for the technology-driven facilities maintenance and management company.

Wigner, 48, previously served as senior director of store services for Dollar General, where he managed more than $500 million in capital and expense budgets while directing major projects affecting more than 10,000 stores. Wigner helped the nationwide retailer open 625 new stores and renovate 525 others in fiscal year 2011. 

"Geoff¹s abilities in operational leadership and budget analysis are critical to managing the growth of SMS Assist," stated Michael Rothman, SMS Assist CEO. "His experience in process improvement, execution and team building will ensure that SMS Assist continues to function seamlessly as we sign additional customers, many with thousands of service locations."

Wigner received his MBA from Western Kentucky University.

 

 

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Publix declares semi-annual cash dividend

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix on Tuesday announced its board of directors declared a semi-annual cash dividend of 35 cents per share on its common stock.

The dividend will be payable Dec. 2, 2013, either through direct deposit or mailed as a check to stockholders of record as of the close of business Oct. 31, 2013, the grocer stated.

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