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Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage in a Big Box

By Clive Riddle

Retail health care will continue to emerge and develop in new arenas. Retail health care started with prescription drugs decades ago, and now retail, convenient care clinics have been the rage. But there are certainly more retail avenues to develop, starting with health insurance at the individual level. Marrying individual Medicare distribution with prescription drugs at the retail would seem a natural. At least it has to Aetna and Costco.

This week, Aetna and Costco announced an alliance to offer a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan: the Aetna Medicare Rx - Costco Plus Plan, to be available in 17 states, with Costco providing sales distribution to its members, and preferred Rx benefits provided for prescriptions filled at Costco pharmacies.

The plan will be available in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Monthly premiums will range from $50 to $70, depending upon the state. Under the plan generic copays, typically $10 at other pharmacies, will be $5 at Costco, or in some cases, zero copay.

Costco operates 545 “membership warehouses”, including 400 in the United States, and also operates Costco Online, an electronic commerce Web site at

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