Don’t you just hate it when insurance companies make network changes? Oftentimes even when the changes improve ones health benefits they still have a negative affect. For many people, changing their doctor or pharmacist is more than a simply driving to another building. Relationships and trust are a very important aspect of health care and wellness. Being forced to alter ones health care choices based solely on money driven motives is an outrage!
One example of this diminishing of wellness is the Walgreens and Express Scripts contract negotiations. For the past year Walgreens has been in negotiations with Express Scripts to continue as part of its pharmacy provider network. Those contract negotiations were unsuccessful, and the contract expired on Dec. 31. Beginning January 2012, Walgreens is no longer part of Express Scripts’ pharmacy provider network. This includes all Walgreens pharmacies nationwide and Duane Reade pharmacies in the New York City area.
This situation of forcing pharmacy patients to switch in order to use their in-network pharmacy benefits was unnecessary. Express Scripts’ actions caused much disruption and they admit this change was not a significant benefit to patients or their health plan.
This breakdown in network negotiations left many of our military service men and women were caught in the middle. Tricare, a health, and prescription drug program for America’s military service men and women is one of Express Scripts’ clients. It was said that Walgreens took the extraordinary step of offering Express Scripts an irrefutable guarantee to match or beat the average costs per adjusted prescription of all other pharmacies in the Tricare network. A stand-alone contract specifically for Tricare was also proposed to Express Scripts by Walgreens but these offers were also rejected. Express Scripts continues to refuse to negotiate a separate contract for the benefit of the Tricare program and its beneficiaries.
Devoted to their patients’ wellness, Walgreens has developed a prescription discount plan as a solution, Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens. This applies to those who lack or have insufficient drug coverage.
Savings Club Overview:
- Currently 2 million members enrolled
- Prescription Savings Club membership is risk free. If savings above the cost of membership are not achieved, they will refund the difference.
- For $10.00 a year, a family membership covers everyone in the immediate family, including a spouse, dependents 22 and younger and pets. Individuals may join for $5.00.
- Savings on more than 8,000 brand-name and all generic medications
- Discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizer, and diabetic supplies
- Bonuses when you purchase Walgreens brand products
Of course, this does not help those who do have sufficient coverage nor our military men and women. If you are outraged by this money driven network change Walgreens and I urge you to contact your local media, expressing your disapproval. Speaking out and encouraging others to do the same will help to preserve our right to choose and direct our health care.