By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eric C. Stelzel, and Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Tiara Hammond, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO -Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) would like TRICARE beneficiaries to know their least expensive options for filling prescriptions. Effective Oct.1, the Department of Defense Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee changed the co-pay policy increasing the cost of medications purchased at retail pharmacies.
NMCSD offers four ways to reduce beneficiaries out of pocket expenses for filling prescriptions. In person at NMCSD's pharmacy or one of their nine Branch Health Clinic pharmacies, calling NMCSD's refill line at 619-532-8400, and online by visiting NMCSD's website http://www.med.navy.mil/SITES/NMCSD/Pages/default.aspx and clicking on the pharmacy page. NMCSD's online feature offers the option to refill your prescription online via mail or pick it up at one of three of NMCSD's Military Treatment Facility (MTF) pharmacies with no co-pay fee.
"The military treatment facility remains the best option where patients can experience great service with no co-pay. The TRICARE Benefit Package has our patients covered," said Lt. (Dr.) Andrew Benson, NMCSD's Outpatient Pharmacy Assistant Division Officer.
The TRICARE pharmacy benefit program divides medications into three separate tiers that determine if a co-pay is required. Tier one medications are generic medications and Tier two medications are brand medications, both of these tiers fall under the program's formulary medications list. Formulary medications are a list of preferred generic and brand-name medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are provided by TRICARE. Non-formulary drugs are considered to be tier three medications.
TRICARE's Home Delivery program offers a 90 day supply of Tier one medications for $0 and a 90 day supply of Tier two for $9. For Tier three medications home delivery is $25 for a 90 day supply vice a 30 day supply for the same price at a retail pharmacy. Retail network pharmacy co-pays have increased from $3 to $5 for a 30 day supply of Tier one medications and from $9 to $12 for a 30 day supply of Tier two. The co-pay for Tier three medications increased from $22 to $25 for a 30 day supply.
According to the TRICARE Management Activity's website this is the first change to co-pays since 2002.
To better serve beneficiaries, NMCSD and their nine Branch Health Clinics are scheduled to undergo computer system upgrades to enhance the customer service experience and reduce wait time. NMCSD's pharmacy is schedule to install a state-of-art robotic barcode system that will enhance quality assurance as well as a new ticketing system that reduces prescription fill time in late summer of 2012.
"NMCSD is always looking for ways to improve customer service, these are just two of the big things that we are working on," said Benson. For more information on TRICARE prescription benefits visit: www.tricare.mil/pharmacy or call 1-877-363-1303.