FALLS CHURCH, Va. – TRICARE For Life beneficiaries soon will receive letters guiding them to TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or a military pharmacy for some prescriptions as part of a congressionally mandated pilot program, officials of the military health care plan said.
TRICARE For Life is secondary coverage for TRICARE beneficiaries who have both Medicare Parts A and B in the United States and U.S. territories.
Starting this week, officials will send letters to affected TRICARE For Life beneficiaries notifying them of the pilot program.
The pilot program starts March 15, and it requires beneficiaries who use TRICARE For Life to get certain medications through Home Delivery or at a military pharmacy. The program applies to refills of maintenance medications taken regularly for chronic conditions, officials said.
As part of the pilot program, officials added, TRICARE will stop paying for these medications from a retail pharmacy. But they noted that the program does not apply to medications for acute conditions taken for a limited time, such as antibiotics or pain medications or any generic medications. At this time, they said, it also does not apply to generic drugs.
Congress mandated the pilot program in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. It will last for five years, but beneficiaries may choose to opt out after filling an affected prescription under the pilot program through Home Delivery for one year.
Beneficiaries will be notified if they are taking a medication covered under the program. They will have two “courtesy fills” available through a retail pharmacy before they are responsible for the entire cost of their medication.
Beneficiaries may call the TRICARE pharmacy contractor, Express Scripts, at 1-877-882-3335 or visit the Express Scripts website to switch to Home Delivery or with questions about their medications. To switch a prescription to a military pharmacy, beneficiaries may need to get a new prescription from their doctor, officials said.
Some people are exempt, including people with another prescription drug plan or people living overseas. People living in a nursing home may contact Express Scripts to request a waiver from the pilot program.
TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery offers beneficiaries a 90-day supply of their medication with no copays for generic drugs and $13 for brand-name drugs. Switching from a retail pharmacy to Home Delivery can save TRICARE beneficiaries up to $152 every year for each prescription, officials said. Beneficiaries also can save by asking their doctor to write them a prescription for a generic version of their medication, they added.