UNCA Benefits announces Walgreens/CVS Caremark changes

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Walgreens recently informed CVS Caremark that it will no longer participate in the CVS Caremark retail prescription drug network. As a result, effective July 9, University of Nebraska employees will no longer be able to use their prescription drug benefit at a Walgreens pharmacy.

As the university's prescription drug provider, CVS Caremark has a responsibility to all employers and plan members to balance providing consumer access with managing cost in delivering its pharmacy benefit, universitywide benefits director Keith Dietze said.

In order to assist members who may be affected by this network change, CVS Caremark will contact individuals who have filled a prescription at a Walgreens pharmacy within the last three months and provide a list of alternative in-network pharmacies nearest to the Walgreens pharmacy where the prescription was filled. The notice will also include simple instructions for transferring prescriptions to a participating pharmacy in the CVS Caremark retail network.

Covered employees are not required to fill their prescription at a CVS pharmacy. CVS is one of approximately 57,000 Caremark retail pharmacy network locations available for prescription needs. Employees may also locate in-network retail pharmacy locations through a ZIP code search using the "Find a Local Pharmacy" feature at http://Caremark.com. Employees also can review the Nebraska and Iowa pharmacies in the CVS Caremark network by visiting the university benefits Web page at http://www.nebraska.edu/benefits.

Dietze provided a link to some Frequently Asked Questions, provided here below:

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers from the CVS Caremark website about the Walgreens out-of-network impact on your prescription drug benefit.

Question: Is it true that I can no longer access Walgreens pharmacies to fill prescriptions?

Answer: When Walgreens' termination from the retail pharmacy network becomes effective on July 9, 2010, Walgreens will be considered out-of-network. Walgreens recently informed CVS Caremark that it will no longer participate in the retail pharmacy network. CVS Caremark was left with no choice but to end Walgreens' contract. This means plan members will no longer be able to use their prescription benefit at Walgreens retail pharmacies once the termination becomes effective. After termination, if you choose to fill prescriptions at Walgreens, you will be required to pay the full price charged by Walgreens, rather than your usual copay amount under your benefit plan.

Question: Why is this happening?

Answer: Walgreens has not lived up to its contract terms as a retail pharmacy provider and was making demands that would have potentially increased costs for you or your plan provider.

Question: Do I now have to pay more for prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies?

Answer: No. As long as you fill your prescription at a CVS Caremark in-network pharmacy, your regular copay will not change. However, if you choose to go to Walgreens after the termination becomes effective, normal out-of-network charges will apply.

Question: Am I now required to use a CVS pharmacy when I need to fill a prescription at retail?

Answer: No. There has been no change in your plan design. You may fill prescriptions at any of the approximately 57,000 locations in our national retail pharmacy network (which will exclude Walgreens when the termination becomes effective). If you'd like to locate other nearby network pharmacies on your own, log on to http://www.caremark.com and use the "Find a Local Pharmacy" feature.

Question: What if I have refills at Walgreens? What are my options?

Answer: You may continue to take full advantage of your prescription benefit by using other pharmacies that participate in your plan. If you have an existing prescription at Walgreens with refills remaining, in most cases you can easily have your new pharmacy transfer the prescription for you. Please be sure to allow enough time for the pharmacy to call the physician if needed.

- Source: CVS Website

More details at: http://go.unl.edu/dij