TRICARE: Switch pharmacies or pay full price

The health care program for more than 9.5 million world-wide beneficiaries is changing the pharmacy benefit portion of its coverage. According to a TRICARE announcement, beginning Oct. 1, TRICARE beneficiaries using select name-brand maintenance drugs will be forced to switch their prescription to a military pharmacy or the program’s home delivery service known as Express Scripts or face paying full price for the prescription. Select maintenance drugs are medications taken for chronic conditions, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. The ruling does not affect medications for acute conditions, such as cases where antibiotics are needed short-term.

Beneficiaries can check to see if the medications they are taking are on the select list by visiting TRICARE’s website or by calling Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303. Beneficiaries can have two refills at their current pharmacy without penalty, however after that they will be required to comply with the changes. Special circumstances may call for a waiver which is granted by TRICARE on a case-by-case basis. The new rule does not apply to the active duty member.

Local pharmacies will be hit the hardest by the new policy.

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