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Walmart Employee Health Benefit Plan – Half of the Name Brands Covered Will Be A Thing of the Past

Posted Jul 20 2009 10:55pm

When it comes to saving a buck, WalMart is king and for those employees who can afford their health insurance plan, there will be far less name brand drugs to choose from, so even for employees, the $4.00 generic is the suggested answer.  You can find the link to the Wal-Mart generic $4.00 list on the blog as well as the pdf links for other retailers.  One more move to move employees in the direction of their own generic program it appears, which makes sense as anyone, employee or not can use the $4.00 generic prescription and pay cash too.  BD  

Previously, Walmart’s health benefits covered about 260 brand name drugs — from Abilify to Zyprexa – according to a Walmart “Quick Reference Preferred Brand List” from January 2009. The July 20, 2009, list contains only about 128 preferred brands. image

The move has huge consequences for workers’ health — Walmart is the U.S.’s largest employer with about 1.1 million employees (or “associates,” as the company calls them). Roughly 700,000 associates are covered by the health plan, a Walmart spokesperson said.

Among those affected in the shuffle: Sanofi-Aventis’ Ambien CR is axed but Sepracor’s Lunesta stays on the list. Shire’s Adderall XR loses its place but Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Abilify stays on. The moves will likely push more Walmart workers to rely on the company’s $4 generic drug program, in which anyone can pay cash at the retail giant’s pharmacies for older drug equivalents that are off-patent.

Effective July 20, 2009, the Preferred and Non-Preferred Brand Name Drug programs will be eliminated and will be replaced with a singe [sic] Brand Name Drug Plan. All of the drugs covered under the Non-Preferred Brand Name Drug Program will be eliminated (except Specialty Drugs).

Important changes to your Pharmacy benefits include: … A single Brand Name Drug benefit with a cost to you of $30 or 20 percent, whichever is greater. (Any Brand prescription drug not on the Brand Name Drug List will not be covered.)

Walmart is well-known for providing associates with affordable prescription drugs, including more than 2,000 generic drugs available to associates at a cost of $4.  Recently, Walmart began informing our associates that we will simplify the company’s pharmacy benefits.  Beginning August 10, the company will consolidate three drug benefits into two:  a “Brand Name Drug benefit” and a generic drug program.

UPDATED: Walmart Axes Half the Drug Brands Covered in Employee Health Benefit Plan | BNET Pharma Blog | BNET

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