Mid week update

The Senate continues to consider the tax extenders bill (HR 4213).  I was under the impression that the version of this bill that the House of Representative passed on  May 28 extended the COBRA/TCC subsidy program from May 31, 2010, through the end of November, 2010. I was wrong.  The House bill did not extend that program which expired at the end of last month due to its $8 billion price tag. As a result employees who are involuntarily terminated from employment after May 31 generally are ineligible for the 65% government subsidy toward the COBRA/TCC premium. The Senate leadership version of the tax extenders bill followed the House lead on this issue. Business Insurance reports that Sen. Robert Casey (D Pa) has proposed an amendment to the bill which would create the extension to November 30. We’ll see.

Walgreen’s Pharmacy and CVS Caremark are at war, and consumers may be caught in the middle. On Monday, Walgreen’s announced that it would no longer fill prescriptions for participants in plans that initiate or renew a contract with the CVS Caremark PBM. Today, CVS Caremark announced that its CVS pharmacies will be terminating their participation in Walgreen’s retail pharmacy network for its PBM operation effective July 9 (or later if contractually or legally required). The Business Journal of Milwaukee notes that The two companies have a history of conflict: they fought over California-based Longs Drug Stores in 2008, with CVS emerging the eventual victor. Jeffrey Rein quit as CEO of Walgreen Co. after that company lost the battle for Longs.”