Sunday, January 15, 2012

Walgreens no longer can accept Express Scripts pharmacy benefits

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

I love getting great deals at Walgreens.  I love their Register Rewards program - almost weekly, I can combine sales, Register Rewards, and coupon to get health care items for free.  As you know, I stop by there every Sunday and pick up the bargains, then report those deals back to you here at Frugal Follies.

But what you might not know is that I have a great relationship with the Walgreens Pharmacy.  They've been my pharmacy since I've lived in this area.  A few years ago, another drug store built a building closer to my house, but I still get my prescriptions at Walgreens.  I'm especially happy about the relationship I have with one of the pharmacists, Sherri.  She always asks how my family is doing when she sees me in the store.  And when recently I had a billing problem with a former insurance company, she went out of her way to speak with the Walgreens corporate headquarters to fix the problem as best as she could.

So I was dismayed to hear about a problem with Walgreens and Express Scripts, a health care middleman between the pharmacies and the health insurance companies.  As of January 1, Walgreens is no longer part of the Express Scripts network.  This includes all Walgreens stores in the US as well as Duane Reade stores in New York.

How do you know if you are affected by this?  Check the back of your health insurance card.  If it says "Express Scripts" on the back, then you cannot get your prescriptions filled at Walgreens anymore.  Luckily, I am not personally affected.  I would hate to lose Sherri as my pharmacist!  I am sure that those people affected by this change are very unhappy about losing their pharmacist, and I would bet that they are quite frustrated about the change.

From what I understand, Express Scripts wants their members to use mail-order pharmacies to obtain their prescriptions instead of purchasing them at Walgreens.  As a frugal person, I am torn by this.  I do think that if you are taking a particular medicine for the long term, it can be cheaper for you to buy it via mail order rather than purchasing it each month at a store.  On the other hand, it is helpful to have a pharmacist (like Sherri) who knows your pharmaceutical history and can warn you about possible interactions between medications, especially if you become ill and need to start a new medication immediately.

Unfortunately, nearly 250,000 members of our military, family members, and retirees have been affected by this change - Express Scripts is the pharmacy manager for their Tricare pharmacy benefits program. Members of the military are protesting this decision.  You can read more about it here:  Walgreens and Express Scripts.

If you're affected by this, what can you do?

Walgreens is offering a special discount on their Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens. For $10 a year, a family membership covers everyone in a member's immediate family, including a spouse, dependents 22 and younger, and pets. Individuals may join for $5.
Members receive discounts on prescriptions. Other benefits include:
  • Savings on more than 8,000 brand-name and all generic medications
  • Discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers and diabetic supplies
  • Bonuses on purchasing Walgreens brand products and photofinishing services
To keep up to date on the Walgreens and Express Scripts controversy, "like" Walgreens on Facebook and
follow Walgreens on Twitter.

If I hear about a change in the relationship between Walgreens and Express Scripts, I'll let you know!


Anonymous,  February 7, 2012 at 12:06 PM  

That is outrageous. Will other pharmacy chains also be kicked out of the network?

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