Rite Aid plans to offer Medicare prescription plan

CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) — Drugstore operator Rite Aid Corp. said Tuesday it will offer a prescription drug plan for seniors through a partnership with Envision Insurance.

The company said the Rite Aid EnvisionRx Plus plan will have no deductible before coverage applies, and there will be no copayments on more than 500 generic medications. The plan has a premium of about $59.40 per month.

The free co-payment will remain even when members are in the "doughnut hole" gap in Medicare drug coverage, which begins when a member's total drug expenses reach $2,510. After that, members must cover all spending until their total reached $5,716.

Medicare offers health insurance to disabled people and senior citizens. More than 18 million people get their prescriptions through its Part D benefit. Rite Aid said the plan will compete with 15 other national enhanced prescription drug plans.

From Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in a prescription drug plan or choose a new one for next year, and Rite Aid's biggest competitors are also offering their own plans.

Drugstores are offering their own plans in order to fill as many prescriptions as possible and get shoppers into their stores.

Earlier this month, drugstore chain and pharmacy benefits manager CVS Caremark Corp. said it will offer a prescription drug plan through a partnership with health insurer Aetna Inc., and Walgreen Co. said it will offer a plan through a partnership with Coventry Health Care Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp.

The CVS plan will have a $26 premium. Members will have a $3 copay and no deductible when they fill prescriptions at CVS stores or pharmacies within Aetna's Medicare network, and they will save $10 on copays for brand-name drugs and non-preferred generics.

Walgreen said its plan has no deductible and an average premium of $25.60 per month, and many prescriptions are free until members reach the doughnut hole.

Rite Aid shares slipped 3 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $1.05 in morning trading. The company runs about 4,700 stores in 31 states and Washington DC.