Ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft may see big gains.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized polices for Medicare health and drug plans for 2019 that will save Medicare beneficiaries money on prescription drugs while offering additional plan choices.
In the press release, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said:
The Trump Administration is taking steps for seniors with Medicare to save money on prescription drugs. The steps we are taking will drive more competition among plans and pharmacies to meet the needs of seniors and lower costs.
Actions that CMS is finalizing to lower the cost of prescription drugs include:
- Allowing for certain low-cost generic drugs to be substituted onto plan formularies at any point during the year, so beneficiaries immediately benefit and have lower cost sharing.
- Increasing competition among plans by removing the requirement that certain Part D plans have to “meaningfully differ” from each other, making more plan options available.
- Increasing competition among pharmacies by clarifying the “any willing provider” requirement, to increase the number of pharmacy options that beneficiaries have.
Forbes reports health insurers are looking at the possible benefits ride-sharing companies will bring to seniors after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last week said it was “reinterpreting the standards for health-related supplemental benefits in the Medicare Advantage program to include additional services that increase health and improve quality of life.”
The ability of Medicare Advantage plans to integrate ride-sharing services into bids could be a boost to Uber and Lyft at a time they are already finding success working with health insurers. Blue Cross plans, for example, have been working with ride-sharing companies to offer ride-sharing as part of commercial benefit packages.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans last month expanded a partnership with Lyft to provide a way for enrollees to get to their neighborhood Walgreens Boots Alliance and CVS Health pharmacies, building on an effort the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association announced last year with Lyft to provide “no-cost” transportation to the doctor’s office in an effort to improve compliance with healthcare appointments.
On March 1, Uber announced its intent to team up with various healthcare organizations nationwide to provide transportation for patients traveling to and from medical appointments.