Changes to TRICARE insurance to impact policyholders, local pharmacies

Local businesses, veterans and active military members using TRICARE insurance are at a loss due to a new contract to fill prescriptions.
Galloway-Sands Pharmacy (Photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) – Local businesses, veterans and active military members who use TRICARE insurance are at a loss due to a new contract to fill prescriptions.

Tiffany Capps is Pharmacy Operations Manager at Galloway-Sands Pharmacy in Southport. She says the Department of Defense has contracted with Express Scripts to administer TRICARE pharmacy benefits. According to Capps, some independent pharmacies were not even offered the contract and those that were would lose money filling prescriptions.

As a small business, and like other family pharmacies in the region, it cannot afford to sign the new contract.

This leaves patients with limited options, one being to use mail order pharmacies.

“What happens when the mail is delayed and you don’t have your medicine? What if the temperature is controlled like your insulin or your diabetes meds and it’s on your porch in 90 degree weather or drops below freezing in the winter and your prescriptions are out viable to use? Capps said.

Capps says TRICARE users had until earlier this year to find a new way to fill their prescriptions, whether by mail or at a network pharmacy. The deadline has since moved to October 24, giving users about a month to figure it all out.

“They come with these letters and they don’t want to change [pharmacies]. They have questions about their prescriptions, they have been using our pharmacy for years, our pharmacists know them,” she says.

The majority of TRICARE users are military personnel. Capps believes they have earned the right to their coverage and the right to choose where to meet their health care needs.

After 27 years of active service in the army, retired Lt. Col. Joan Ramsey accepts.

“I want to support the local community. I think it’s important and I think I’ve earned my right, I guess, after serving 27 years in the military, to be able to get my prescriptions here instead of through the mail,” Ramsey said.

WWAY has contacted TRICARE and Express Scripts for a statement, but has not yet received a response.

Galloway-Sands has a list of ways to contact area officials, the Department of Defense, and more to make your voice heard if you are interested in supporting pharmacy access for TRICARE beneficiaries. For more information, visit their website or inquire during your store visit.

About Terry Gongora

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