Anthem, Walmart strike deal on over-the-counter drugs for MA members

Anthem and Walmart are launching a new program in January 2019 to cut costs of over-the-counter medications and health-related items for members with Medicare Advantage plans, the companies said Aug. 20.

Under the program, individuals enrolled in Anthem-affiliated MA plans will get allowances to purchase OTC drugs, first aid supplies, support braces, pain relievers and other products at Walmart stores and online. The goal is to reduce out-of-pocket costs beneficiaries pay for these products.

"Creating a better healthcare future requires us to think differently about how we can develop innovative and meaningful healthcare solutions for consumers," Felicia Norwood, executive vice president and president of Anthem's government business division, said in a news release. "We believe that programs like this can make a tremendous difference for healthcare consumers who often live on a fixed income or are managing chronic medical conditions."

Walmart has a similar partnership with Humana featuring a co-branded Medicare drug plan it launched earlier this month, Reuters reports. Under the deal members enrolled in the plan save up to 20 percent in drug costs, but Humana said it is looking to expand these offerings.

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