Retail News Breaks Archives
Veterans Rx discount plan caters to Walgreens patients
March 7th, 2012
GREENWICH, Conn. – Veterans Advantage Inc., a national membership program providing service benefits for the military and their families, is offering its discount prescription plan as option for Walgreens patients with Express Scripts drug plans.
As of Jan. 1, Walgreens no longer participated in the Express Scripts pharmacy provider network because of a contract dispute between the drug chain and the pharmacy benefit manager. Express Scripts is the PBM for Tricare, the health and drug benefits program for the U.S. Department of Defense.
So starting this year, about 6 million Tricare beneficiaries lost in-network insurance coverage for prescriptions filled at Walgreens and Duane Reade drug stores, which together number more than 7,800 locations nationwide.
"Prescription drug expenses continue to be a national crisis, and this latest coverage shortfall reveals another way Veterans Advantage can help military families ease their financial burdens," Scott Higgins, founder and chief executive officer of Veterans Advantage, said in a statement. "We are committed to offsetting high drug costs for all who served our country and their families."
The Veterans Advantage Drug Discount Card — for U.S. active-duty military, veterans, National Guard, reservists and their families — provides members with average savings of 30%, climbing to as high as 75% on some medications. The card may also be used as a supplement for insured prescription plans to cover nonformulary prescriptions or used as a Medicare Part D supplement.
The card program, made possible through the participation of U.S. pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies, is accepted at all Walgreen Co. drug stores.
"Through a host of reasons, including geographic, consumers should not be shut out of getting their prescription drugs from one leading pharmacy chain or another," Higgins stated. "That’s why we feel it is important for Veterans Advantage's prescription drug plan — with its 56,000 pharmacies covered nationwide, including Walgreens — to continue to deliver the power of choice and continued savings at these locations for our members."
In December, Walgreens reported that more than 250,000 Tricare beneficiaries had petitioned Express Scripts to keep the drug chain in its pharmacy network. And weeks earlier, the chain said it had proposed terms to Express Scripts to remain in its network for Tricare, including an offer to contract separately with the PBM for Tricare to avoid disruption to military families and retirees, but to no avail.
Early this year, CVS/pharmacy launched a service on its website that allows Tricare beneficiaries to transfer their prescriptions to one of its drug stores. At the site, Tricare members can find information about how to transfer their prescriptions to one of the chain's 7,300-plus pharmacies.