Wal-Mart’s Cheaper Medicare Drug Plan

Humana Inc. is combining forces with Wal-Mart Stores to offer a low cost Medicare prescription drug plan, nationwide.

Humana, based in Louisville, Ky., is one of the largest U.S. health insurers and second largest provider of privately run Medicare health plans. It has the highest exposure to Medicare among the major national managed care businesses.

A typical Medicare prescription drug beneficiary could save about $450 a year on the lower premium, co-payments/cost- shares, compared with average total costs for Medicare drug benefit plans, the companies pointed out. They referred to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services figures.

The plan will go into effect next year at a monthly premium of $14.80, which is the lowest premium for stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans being offered nationally for 2011 per Humana.