Update on BCBS Negotiations with Walgreens

As you may have heard, Express Scripts* and Walgreens are negotiating their contract for 2012.  Express Scripts is the pharmacy benefit manager for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and HMO Louisiana, Inc.  As of today, Express Scripts and Walgreens have not reached an agreement.

Who is Express Scripts?

Express Scripts is the pharmacy benefit manager for Blue Cross and HMO Louisiana customers.  Express Scripts’ job is to negotiate contracts nationwide on behalf of health plans like Blue Cross.  They help keep costs down and prescriptions affordable.

Walgreens most recent proposal includes demands that are out of line with industry norms.  If Express Scripts were to accept Walgreens’ current demands, it would mean higher costs of you – either at the pharmacy or in your monthly premiums.

We are confident that Express Scripts is doing everything in their power to find a solution to the Walgreens dispute; however, Walgreens maintains that they will no longer be a network pharmacy, for our members whose pharmacy benefits are administered by Express Scripts,effective Jan. 1, 2012.

We have used every opportunity to work with Express Scripts to aid them in coming to a resolution, but Walgreens must decide to stay and agree to the competitive and reasonable rates Express Scripts has offered.

If You’ve Received a Letter from Walgreens:

We understand that Walgreens has been handing out notices and sending direct mail to BCBS members. Some pharmacists have even stopped our members at the pharmacy to talk about Walgreens’ decision to leave the Express Scripts pharmacy network. Naturally, this has caused some questions and concerns from our members. The information on this page should clear things up for you.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • You will continue to have the same high-level pharmacy benefits when filling prescriptions at Walgreens until Dec. 31, 2011. Please note that it will cost you more out-of-pocket and out-of-network benefits will apply if you use Walgreens after they leave the network.
  • Using a pharmacy that is not in the network means you will have to pay for your medication in full when you pick it up and you must file your own claim. Further, we can reimburse you only for what we would have paid a network pharmacy, less any copayments, deductibles or cost sharing you may have according to your health plan.
  • You will get the highest level of benefits when you fill prescriptions at a network pharmacy. For this reason, we encourage you to manage your prescription costs carefully by using a pharmacy in your network.

It’s Easy to Change Pharmacies. Here’s how:

Based on Walgreens’ warning that they will leave the network at the end of the year, we encourage you to begin looking for a new pharmacy and transferring your prescriptions now to avoid any delays later. There are often several other network pharmacies in your area – many are very close to a Walgreens you have used.

To find a network pharmacy that works for you, just log in at www.bcbsla.com and click Manage Medication. If you don’t have an online account yet, registration is easy, just click Register and follow the instructions.

The next step is simple! Transfer your prescriptions to the new pharmacy by doing just ONE of the following:

  • Take your prescription bottle or packaging to your new pharmacy; they will contact your old pharmacy to transfer your prescription, or
  • Ask your doctor to call your new pharmacy with your prescription information, or
  • Visit www.StartHomeDelivery.com to begin receiving up to a 90-day supply of your maintenance medications (those you take regularly) at home.

If you need help transferring your prescriptions, please visit the Express Scripts website atwww.Express-Scripts.com or call them directly at 1(877)508-1379.

For more information

*Express Scripts, Inc. (ESI) is an independent company that serves as the pharmacy benefit manager for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and HMO Louisiana, Inc.


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