Ohio's largest Medicaid provider no longer working with Walgreens

Walgreens and CareSource, Ohio's largest Medicaid provider, are no longer working together, leaving half of Ohio's Medicaid recipients without access to Walgreens pharmacies, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Walgreens is Ohio's second-largest pharmacy retailer, which means parts of Ohio could become pharmacy deserts for Medicaid beneficiaries.

The news of the change, which will take effect Jan. 1, comes one week before Medicaid open enrollment begins.

Despite CareSource promising more transparency earlier in the year, the company did not announce its decision to cut ties with Walgreens, according to The Columbus Dispatch. The company also didn't say how many of its Ohio clients use Walgreens or whether it will cut ties with Walgreens in other states as well.

Ohio Sen. David Burke, who chairs the state's HHS and Medicaid Committee, told The Columbus Dispatch that Medicaid patients tend to be sicker than the general population and if they lose access to Walgreens they may stop taking their medicines. That would make them more likely to end up in emergency rooms or hospitals, which could cost Medicaid even more than the cost of the patients' drugs.

Additionally, because of network-adequacy rules, Mr. Burke told The Columbus Dispatch that CareSource cutting ties with Walgeens may allow CVS to dictate the prices it wants for Medicaid drugs.

Read the full article here.

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