You might be among the many Americans who are suddenly having problems getting your prescription filled at Walgreens. Their pharmacies may no longer be considered to be “in network” by your health insurance company. The reason has to do with a dispute between Walgreens and Express Scripts.
If you are a person who hardly ever gets sick enough to require prescription medication, then maybe you aren’t especially concerned with the whole process that is involved with filling prescriptions. Sure, it’s annoying to be waiting in line at a pharmacy for your prescription to be filled while you have a painful sinus infection. For most people, though, this doesn’t happen too often.
Many other people have one or more prescription medications that they are taking daily. They need to have these prescriptions refilled at least once a month. Having to go through the entire process of getting a refill, for each and every prescription a person needs, can be incredibly tedious and irritating.
If this describes you, then the one good thing about having to frequently fill multiple prescriptions is that you know that your pharmacy works with your health insurance. Unfortunately, if you were getting your prescriptions at Walgreen’s, there is the potential that your health insurance company has suddenly decided that your pharmacy is no longer in their network.
The reason has to do with a dispute between Walgreen’s and Express Scripts. Walgreen’s, of course, is a well recognized pharmacy. Express Scripts is one of the biggest pharmacy benefit managers in the United States. Health insurance companies hire Express Scripts to negotiate prices for medications, and to oversee prescription drug programs.
Recently, the negotiations between Express Scripts and Walgreens broke down. Walgreen’s says that Express Scripts was asking for too much money. Apparently, these types of negotiations go back and forth. This time, things didn’t work out. This is unprecedented.
Take a look at the back of your insurance card. Does it have “Express Scripts” printed on it? If so, then you are among the many unfortunate consumers who will no longer be able to fill their prescriptions at Walgreen’s or Duane Reade. Your insurance company will now consider those pharmacies to be “out of network”.
About 10% of the customers who used Walgreen’s pharmacies are being affected by this dispute. This includes people who are covered by Anthem Blue Cross in California, WellPoint Inc., and the Tricare program. Tricare covers people who are in the military, (and their dependents).
This entire group of people are going to have to go through the annoyance of transferring their prescriptions, all of them, to another pharmacy. That new pharmacy might not be as convenient for them to travel to as the Walgreen’s was.
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