By Terri Moon Cronk,
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Beneficiaries of the TRICARE military
health plan can obtain 90 days of home-delivered medication with no
copayment and can get free vaccinations at participating pharmacies
without seeing a doctor.
For beneficiaries who use
TRICARE pharmacies, however, the retail cost of generic medications will
increase from $3 to $5 for a 30-day supply, effective Oct. 1, and
brand-name medications will increase from $9 to $12 for a 30-day supply.
"We’re trying to encourage
people to use TRICARE’s home delivery for a 90-day supply of generic
medication because, effective Oct. 1, there will be no copay," said Navy
Rear Adm. (Dr.) Christine Hunter, TRICARE Management Activity’s deputy
Many people get their prescriptions filled at military treatment
facilities, which remains "our preferred place for people to go," Hunter
No changes will occur in
the cost of prescriptions from military hospital pharmacies, she said.
Some 70 percent of TRICARE
beneficiaries obtain generic medications, and those kinds of medications
will be home-delivered in a 90-day supply at no copayment, Hunter said.
According to TRICARE’s website, the Department of Defense established a
uniform list of covered brand-name and generic drugs, as well as a third
tier of drugs designated as "non-formulary." Prescriptions for
non-formulary medications can be dispensed, but at higher cost to
beneficiaries, unless the provider can establish medical necessity.
Hunter said a one-month
supply of a non-formulary medication will cost $25 at a TRICARE
"So, it’s always better to use TRICARE home delivery for any chronic
medications," she said.
Hunter suggested that people use home delivery "when they know they can
tolerate a new medication, know they’re going to be on it awhile, or
it’s something they’ve been taking."
The home delivery plan
saves time and money for beneficiaries, and the government also benefits
from savings it receives through a volume discount, Hunter noted.
TRICARE’s mail orders for
prescriptions grew by about 10 percent in 2010, Hunter said.
At the same time, she
added, retail growth decreased about 3.9 percent, producing a medication
savings of $30 million, and people received their medications more
conveniently at home.
In addition to prescription home-delivery savings, Hunter said, TRICARE
offers beneficiaries seasonal flu shots, school vaccinations and other
Beneficiaries can get most
of their vaccinations from participating TRICARE pharmacies, eliminating
the need to schedule clinic appointments, Hunter said.
"It’s also a great time to update your Family (vaccine) checklist so you
keep everyone healthy," Hunter said.
Many schools require an
update on vaccines and immunizations before children return to school,
she noted. Parents typically look at a tetanus booster and other
immunizations for their children, she said, and the meningococcal
vaccine for children going off to college. People who plan to travel
might consider a hepatitis vaccine, she added.
"Flu shots are recommended
for just about everybody these days, and are available at our TRICARE
pharmacies," Hunter said. "But what people might not know is the
pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is recommended for more and more
adults, especially for those with small children."
In the past year or so,
Hunter and her staff began to make a limited number of vaccines
available at TRICARE pharmacies for flu shots, the influenza A (subtype
H1N1) virus, and the pneumonia vaccine. TRICARE provided 300,000
vaccines that first year, she said, and the program has expanded to all
immunizations normally covered under the TRICARE preventive medicine
benefit with no copayment.
Some limitations exist,
Hunter noted. Pharmacy participation varies, some facilities stock only
certain vaccines, and some don’t immunize children.
Others provide vaccinations
only on certain days and times, she explained.
"Call ahead to make sure
they have the vaccine, and if someone’s there to give it," Hunter said.
"There is no copay. It is part of TRICARE’s preventive care, and we want
people to be able to get it conveniently and easily."
General TRICARE information
is available at the website
Hunter suggested going to the website
to find participating pharmacies by area.
More information about prescription costs is available
For more information, TRICARE beneficiaries also can
call toll free at 1-877-363-1303, which connects directly to the TRICARE
Pharmacy program (Express Scripts), or in the Fort McCoy community call
the Health Benefits Adviser at 608-388-7879.