7 Comments

  1. jay patel

    March 26, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Are doctors being asked to pony up any?

    I think there will be saving $38 million over 2 years from pharmacists.

  2. AdamL

    March 26, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Not really — doctors and hospitals probably took a hit when state employees shifted to the Blue Cross PPO. There is savings of $38 million over two years from pharmacists, but that is $53 million less than Medco was guaranteeing.

    Now state employees and taxpayers are being asked to shoulder the extra $53 million that could have been saved.

  3. jay patel

    March 26, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Do you know how Medco was figuring the $90 million?

    I’m a little distrustful of Medco ever since they had a big settlement w/ 20 states over switching patients to more expensive drugs.

  4. Adam Linker

    March 27, 2009 at 8:27 am

    I understand your skepticism.

    The savings was from switching maintenance prescriptions to mail order, which is much cheaper. I wouldn’t have a particular problem with keeping the maintenance prescriptions with retail pharmacies if the retail pharmacies would save $90 million.

    I don’t know what happened behind the scenes but when the smoke cleared the pharmacists got everything they wanted and dependent premiums for state workers were raised even more than originally planned.

    If pharmacists care so deeply about state employees — as they claim — they would be making phone calls and raising a ruckus over the fact that state workers are getting railroaded. Instead, as soon as they were able to keep their revenue pharmacists signed off on the Senate bill.

    I suppose when the spouses of state employees are no longer able to afford State Health Plan coverage they can go visit their friendly community pharmacist for lunch, because they certainly won’t be able to buy medication.

  5. jay patel

    March 31, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Has anyone looked into how Medco makes money? For example what they say they pay pharmacists vs. what they bill the state. I know that the USDOJ has gone after them for improper billing practices.

    I think you’re justifying $90 million in savings but not asking any questions on how they got to the $90 million. Given Medco’s track record, I’d expect the Progressive Pulse folks to ask tougher questions instead of taking their word for it. I mean, their CEO made $14.1 million in 2007, amounting to a 40 percent raise in a year.

    With the focus on BCBS, I think we’re missing out on where the real savings can come from (e.g. Medco pocketing rebate dollars from big Pharma).

    Mandatory mail order vs. increased dependent costs is a lose-lose for state employees (state employees lose either way).

    Firing Medco is a win-win for state employees and will likely save money for the state.

  6. Adam Searing

    April 1, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Uh, Jay – firing Medco “will likely save money for the state.”??? The Senate did just that in the amendment they made reducing Medco’s role. And that didn’t save any money – it cost money, millions that had to come from state employees and taxpayers. That’s what Senators said very clearly on the floor.

  7. jay patel

    April 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    You’re missing the whole point.

    Medco overcharges the state for their services and then promises $90 million in savings.

    Why are you not questioning how Medco will save $90 million when their track record indicates they over charge for drugs?