Veterans

September 7, 2012

Tricare won’t return Walgreen to pharmacy network

The military health insurance plan Tricare says Walgreen’s drugstore chain, the largest in the U.S., will not be part of the network where plan members can get their prescriptions filled.

Tricare did not give a reason for its decision, which was posted in an announcement on its website. It said its network currently includes more than 57,000 pharmacies. Tricare members can have prescriptions filled at Walgreen stores, but because it won’t be part of the network, their out-of-pocket costs will be greater and they will need to pay for the full prescription upfront and then submit a claim to Tricare for partial reimbursement.

Tricare provides health insurance for active and retired military members and their families. Walgreen has said Tricare has about 6 million members.

Tricare’s prescriptions are managed by Express Scripts Holding Co., the largest pharmacy benefits management company in the United States. When a contract between Walgreen and Express Scripts expired Dec. 31, Walgreen stopped filling prescriptions for Tricare members and most of Express Scripts’ other clients. The companies spent more than a year publicly arguing about the rates Express Scripts pays to drugstores like Walgreen and other issues.

Walgreen and Express Scripts reached a new deal in July and Walgreen will rejoin the Express Scripts network Sept. 15. That gives Express Scripts clients the choice of whether to add Walgreen back into their networks.

Walgreen is based in Deerfield, Ill., and it had 7,929 stores as of Aug. 31.

Tricare is one of Express Scripts’ biggest clients, so its choice to go with a smaller pharmacy network is good news for Express Scripts, said Jefferies & Co. analyst Brian Tanquilut. Tanquilut said the decision is a “strong validation” for Express Scripts’ plan to try to convince its members to pick smaller, cheaper pharmacy networks. While larger pharmacy networks give plan members more options, the provider of the health plan can save money by offering a narrow network that only includes the stores that will fill prescriptions for the lowest prices.

Tanquilut rates Express Scripts shares “Buy.” The stock rose 97 cents to $63.82 morning trading.

Jefferies analyst Scott Mushkin said Walgreen filled about 16 million prescriptions for Tricare members every year. That’s a significant chunk of the 90 million prescriptions it filled for Express Scripts on a yearly basis. Mushkin said Tricare’s decision shows that Walgreen won’t get back all the prescriptions it lost.

“The situation with Tricare may not be isolated and we are unsure at this juncture just how many of Express Scripts’ clients, outside of WellPoint, participated in savings from Walgreens leaving and will have to make the decision whether to `opt-in’ to the network at a higher cost,” he wrote.

WellPoint Inc. is a health insurer, and it has agreed to add Walgreen back to its pharmacy networks.

Walgreen also reported its August sales on Thursday. Its total sales and sales at stores open at least a year dropped compared with last year because of the dispute with Express Scripts. AP




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
WWII-MIA

Missing World War II Soldier accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced today that the remains of a missing World War II U.S. serviceman have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors, acco...
 
 
stamps2

New stamp folio to honor Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients

Nearly a dozen Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients will help the U.S. Postal Service dedicate a limited-edition stamp folio honoring them and other Vietnam heroes on Memorial Day. The “Medal of Honor: Vietnam War Forever...
 
 
af-medal

American Fighter Aces receive Congressional Gold Medal

Leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the American Fighter Aces Association May 20 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Emancipation Hall. The Congressional Gold Medal...
 

 
Korea-MIA

Soldier missing from Korean War accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced May 22 that the remains of a U.S. soldier missing from the Korean War have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors, a...
 
 
Army photogaph by J.D. Leipold

Soldiers participate during Flags In at Arlington Cemetery

Army photogaph by J.D. Leipold Old Guard and other ceremonial units place more than 228,000 miniature flags throughout Arlington National Cemetery, Va., May 21, 2015, in advance of Memorial Day, May 25. The Flags In mission has...
 
 

In memoriam

Remembering TSgt. Anthony E. Salazar TSgt. Anthony E. Salazar, age 40, died April 13 in a noncombat related incident at an air base in Southwest Asia while serving during Operation Inherent Resolve. Salazar, a native of Hermosa Beach, Calif., was assigned to U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>