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Medco's 2011 National Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) Earns CMS 5-Star Quality and Performance Rating

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., Nov. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) today announced that its 2011 Medco Medicare Prescription Plan® earned the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) highest overall quality and performance rating – 5 Stars – for its national Prescription Drug Plan (PDP).  CMS rates the relative quality of the private plans that are offered to Medicare beneficiaries on a scale of one to five, with five stars representing the highest quality.  



Medco's plan is the only national plan to earn a 5-Star overall rating, which is 1.5 points higher than the average 3.5-Star overall rating for all PDPs evaluated.

"When Medicare consumers select a Part D plan, they should consider the total value of a plan, not just the premium or the co-pay amounts.  That's why the CMS Star ratings are incredibly helpful for beneficiaries because they provide an objective comparison tool on factors that are vitally important in their decision making, such as patient safety and member experience.  These ratings can give beneficiaries some peace of mind," said Mary Daschner, RPh, Group President, Medco Government PBM Group.

To determine the ratings, CMS conducts a thorough evaluation of the plan, which includes feedback from beneficiaries who are currently using the plan.  The summary score provides an overall measure of a plan's quality, and is a cumulative indicator of the quality of care, access to care, responsiveness and beneficiary satisfaction provided by the plan.  Ratings are posted on the Medicare website to provide beneficiaries with additional information to help them choose among the Medicare plans offered in their area.

The ratings are based on 17 measurements in 4 domains:  Customer Service, Member Complaints & Audit Findings, Member Experience with the Plan, and Drug Pricing and Patient Safety.  Medco's national contract was rated as "excellent" or "above-average" on most measurements.

Continued Daschner:  "Being the only national PDP to earn the highest rating possible from CMS validates the value of Medco's Medicare Part D offerings and the high-quality services available through its plans, including affordable access to a broad list of medications, personalized support from Medco Specialist Pharmacists and Medco Medicare Advisors, medication safety alerts, and other tools that can empower beneficiaries to live healthier lives."

In 2011, Medco is offering two robust plan options, Choice and Value, which are offered nationally in the 35 Medicare regions, including Puerto Rico.

The company's dedicated team of Medco Medicare Advisors and pharmacists can help members get the most value out of their plan.  Medco Medicare members have saved an average of $176 a year in drug costs prior to reaching the Coverage Gap and delayed entering the Coverage Gap for an extra month when they filled generic medications and used the Medco Pharmacy™*.

Medicare Members also have access to Medco's suite of online tools that empower members to protect themselves against certain unnecessary health risks.  Medco's new online safety net sends alerts to members taking maintenance medications about gaps in their care that could harm their health and enables the member to take action to help close those gaps.

In addition, the following services are available to all Medco Medicare Prescription Plan members:

  • Medco Medicare Advisors who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can help beneficiaries identify and understand lower-cost medication options.
  • Extensive Coverage Gap communications – letters and web messaging – that inform members about their proximity to the coverage gap, and educate members about how to use Medco Pharmacy and generics to help delay reaching the coverage gap and lower their overall annual prescription costs.
  • Medco pharmacists who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can discuss your mediations with you in the privacy of your own home.
  • Access to Medco Specialist Pharmacists who are specially trained in their practice of treating specific chronic conditions that are most common among people using the Medicare Part D benefit, and are therefore better equipped to identify a potential safety issue and counsel patients on how to stay healthy.
  • Access to the Medco Health Store™, an easy way to buy vitamins and over-the-counter (OTC) medications online.  When beneficiaries use the Medco Health Store, Medco is able to help protect them by making sure there are no harmful interactions between items purchased in the Medco Health Store and the prescription medications on file.

Enrollment for the 2011 plan year begins Nov. 15, 2010 with coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2011.  Those interested in learning more about the Medco Medicare Prescription Plan options can visit, or call toll-free 1-800-758-3605. TTY/TDD users should call 1-800-716-3231.  Customer Service is available in English and other languages from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., 7 days a week.  The Medco Medicare Prescription Drug Plan is a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor.

More information about CMS' Star Ratings can be found at

*Medco Health Solutions, Inc. "Delaying Entry to Coverage Gap by Use of Generics and/or Mail Service" study, September 2009.  Based on beneficiaries enrolled in the Medco Medicare Prescription Plan® (PDP) or a health plan–sponsored PDP or MA-PD plan with a Coverage Gap stage during the 2008 plan year.  Excludes Dual Medicare/Medicaid eligibles and Low-Income Subsidy enrollees.  Patient savings may vary based on annual benefit changes.

About Medco

Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) is pioneering the world's most advanced pharmacy® and its clinical research and innovations are part of Medco making medicine smarter™ for approximately 65 million members.

With more than 20,000 employees dedicated to improving patient health and reducing costs for a wide range of public and private sector clients, and 2009 revenues of nearly $60 billion, Medco ranks 35th on the Fortune 500 list and is named among the world's most innovative, most admired and most trustworthy companies.

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This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the risks and uncertainties that affect our business, particularly those mentioned in the Risk Factors section of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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