PEIA Rx claims witness drop; Aetna to be a subsidiary of CVS;

Officials of the WV Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) informed the agency’s finance board June 21 that cost containment measures of the drug program had saved $31.9 million, with rebates increasing 35 percent over last year.   Prescription drug rebates climbed to $14,605,000 through April 2018, up from $5,679,000.

“In what could be considered a ‘dramatic turn of events’ the agency covering over 220,000 individuals has gone from a projected $50 million deficit to a $31 million surplus.  Agency officials expressed pleasure with the result.  Of course, the reduced expenditures fell on the backs of pharmacies with containment measures being implemented almost a year ago,” said Richard Stevens, WVPA Executive Director, who attended the board meeting.

At the request of Governor Jim Justice, the finance board increased tiers of the insurance program by $2,700 to ensure that raises public employees recently received won’t be deteriorated by corresponding out-of-pocket healthcare cost increases.  PEIA currently costs the state almost $1 billion a year.

CVS Health and Aetna executives defended their $69 billion proposed merger before the California Insurance Commissioner June 19, as a panel of antitrust experts and healthcare providers chipped away at the companies’ promise to lower U. S. healthcare costs and improve the quality of care without harming competition.

If approved by the U. S. Justice Department, Aetna will become a subsidiary within CVS.  The deal will allow the companies to create a new model of healthcare where patients could get the information and resources they need to manage their own care at convenient community retail clinics at a lower price.

CVS pharmacists would help fill gaps in care between regular doctor appointments to keep patients healthy and prevent illness, while also referring CVS’s Minute Clinic patients to primacy are doctors in the area.   Pharmacists would provide personalized counseling to tackle chronic diseases., according to CVS officials.