Walgreens and Express Scripts-Another Shake Up in American Health Coverage

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.



Okay, this is an issue that I recently just heard on NPR the other night while driving to pick up my kids. I found the whole story to be quite interesting as the health care industry continues to put its profits ahead of customer care. So, let’s look at this big shake up in prescription drug coverage. First, we need to define the major players—1. Walgreens, 2. Express Scripts, and 3. Valued consumer with active health insurance coverage. I think 1. & 3. are pretty clear cut. Most of us at least recognize the Walgreens name. They are the largest pharmacy chain in the nation. And YOU are the valued consumer.

But who is Express Scripts? Express Scripts, a middleman pharmaceutical health care service who has partnered with some major health insurance companies to offer discounts on prescription medications through their ‘in-network’ pharmacies. You can find out if Express Scripts handles your prescription drug coverage by looking at the back of your health insurance card. If it says Express Scripts, then this story make affect you.

So, what is the deal? Well on December 31, 2011, the contract between Walgreens & Express Scripts expired with no new contract terms agreed upon between the 2 parties. Effective January 1, 2012, Walgreens is no longer considered an ‘in-network’ pharmacy for consumers with Express Scripts coverage. This means that anyone with Express Scripts coverage that uses Walgreens as their regular pharmacy will be forced to move pharmacies to take advantage of the ‘in-network’ discounts. (To learn the details about why this happened, check out the press release Walgreens and Express Scripts.) Depending on where you fall on this issue will depend on how you feel about switching pharmacies. But there are millions of consumers who rely on their prescriptions every month to live their daily lives. So, this could be a major upset to their lifestyle by forcing them to go further to get their meds and having to start a new relationship with a new pharmacist.

This issue is also affecting our military families. One of Express Scripts clients is Tricare, the health and prescription program for America’s military. During negotiations, Walgreens offered to negotiate a separate contract for the Tricare coverage with additional benefits to the military. Express Scripts refused those negotiations leaving military families in the same boat as consumers in the middle and forced to switch pharmacies.

While change is uncomfortable for most people and many insured consumers are having issue with these types of changes. Walgreens is not giving up the 90million consumers covered by Express Scripts without a fight. Walgreens is launching their own Prescription Savings Club. Individuals can join during their January promotion for only $5 or a family for $10. They will receive savings on more than 8,000 brand name and all generic medications, including 90-day supply of generic when available. To learn more about this program, click here Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens.

For those upset about this health care shake up, Walgreens is encouraging people to speak up and contact their local media. To stay up-to-date on this topic, connect with Walgreens on Twitter and Walgreens on Facebook.

How does this affect your family? What are your thoughts on the bureaucratic contracting disputes that are affecting the lives of Americans nationwide?

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