By Senior Airman Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
As of Oct. 1, a new law now requires all TRICARE beneficiaries, except active-duty service members, to get select brand name maintenance drugs through either TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or from a military pharmacy.
Maintenance drugs are prescriptions that are taken regularly for a long time, such as drugs to control blood pressure or cholesterol. The new law does not apply to drugs you take for a short time, like antibiotics, or generic drugs. Beneficiaries living overseas, or with other prescription drug coverage, are not affected.
Beneficiaries who keep using a retail pharmacy for these drugs will have to pay costs in their entirety.
The Little Rock AFB pharmacy expects a 10-percent increase in the amount of prescriptions that they will fill.
“We fill upwards of 1,000 prescriptions per day here,” said Capt. Andrew Tate, 19th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy operations director. “The pharmacy will begin to include and stock more medications. We encourage our customers to be patient. We will also experiment with new operation processes to be efficient as possible.”
The TRICARE pharmacy contractor, Express Scripts, is sending a letter to beneficiaries taking an affected drug, explaining their options. To check if you are affected, call Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303.
Beneficiaries still filling an affected drug at a retail pharmacy will receive another letter informing them of the change to the benefit. After that, beneficiaries have one final “courtesy” fill at a retail pharmacy. If they fill at a retail pharmacy again, they have to pay 100-percent of the cost of their medication.
TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery is a safe, convenient and low cost option to get maintenance drugs. You can get up to a 90-day supply, as opposed to a 30-day supply from a retail pharmacy. You save up to $176 a year for every brand name drug you switch to Home Delivery. Military pharmacies offer up to a 90-day supply of drugs with zero copay, but not all drugs are available. You can check with the Little Rock Air Force Base pharmacy to see if they carry your prescription.
For more information about this change to TRICARE’s pharmacy benefit, visit www.tricare.mil/RxNewRules.