Monday, July 28, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Mandatory ‘mail order’ starts for Tricare users

By
From page B10 | March 23, 2014 |

Approximately 500,000 military beneficiaries age 65 and older with chronic health conditions are being forced, starting this month, to have maintenance drug prescriptions filled by mail order rather than in local retail pharmacies.

The Tricare For Life Home Delivery pilot is a yearlong program required by law. Defense Department health officials project it will save the government $120 million per year in retail drug costs and save beneficiaries $28 million a year in lower drug co-payments.

By the time the pilot program ends, officials project that 95 percent of beneficiaries forced to use home delivery will be so satisfied with the convenience and savings they will stay with mail order voluntarily rather than return to neighborhood druggists for the kinds of medicines they will have to take for the rest of their lives.

“We are making it easier to stay,” said Rear Adm. Thomas J. McGinnis, chief of pharmaceutical operations for the Defense Health Agency. “We have auto-refills of medications where beneficiaries can check a box and, every 80 days or so, get either a phone call or an email – whatever they signed up to

receive – notifying them that their medication is going to ship next week. They only have to call a number if they don’t want that medication. So they automatically get it every 90 days. They don’t have to think about it so they don’t run out of medication.”

Another feature of TFL Home Delivery is auto-renewal of prescriptions.

“Prescriptions are only good for one year, in every state, and then beneficiaries have to go get a new prescription,” McGinnis said.

With mail order, however, the contractor, Express Scripts Inc., will query a beneficiary’s physician to ask if this time they will renew the prescription automatically or if they want to see the patient first.

“Eighty percent of the time, they will renew the prescription without having the beneficiary come in . . . so that’s going to help, again, keep our beneficiaries out of retail,” McGinnis said. “That’s why we say, ‘You only have to try this for one year and that’s it.’ You try it, you’ll like it.”

Many TFL beneficiaries have known about the pilot for months, from news reports on the mandate Congress enacted more than a year ago. So thousands of TLF beneficiaries who take medicine routinely to control high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and other chronic conditions have been shifting their maintenance meds to mail order steadily during the past year.

Last month, however, every TLF beneficiary identified as having used retail pharmacies in recent years for maintenance drug refills – a total of 350,000 households – received a letter from Tricare explaining that those prescriptions must be switched to mail order by March 15.

Elderly beneficiaries who continue to use retail druggists for these types of medicines after that date will get a second letter warning them again that they must convert to mail order within 30 days.

“There will also be outbound phone calls reminding them to just call this number and we will help them transfer medication to mail,” McGinnis said.

If they continue to use local drug stores for these prescriptions, a third letter will be a final notice before TFL beneficiaries will be forced, after May, to pay 100 percent of the cost of maintenance drug dispensed at retail.

That’s the hammer for TLF beneficiaries who refuse to shift. The hook is that their co-payments will fall, saving TFL beneficiaries as a group a total of $2.3 million monthly, McGinnis said.

“It’s a no brainer, especially for the over-65 population,” McGinnis said. “Those folks average four or five medications. Even if they have just one generic and one brand name medication (home delivered), that will save them $212 a year.”

Beneficiaries on four to six maintenance medications could save more than $600 a year “for the same drugs and more convenience and you don’t have to remember to pick it up every month at the retail pharmacy,” he said.

Beneficiaries typically pay $60 a year in co-pays for generic drugs at retail. Generic drugs are free through home delivery.

Another bit of good news is that the process to shift to mail order couldn’t be easier, McGinnis said. All of the warning letters will contain the same phone number: 1-877-882-3335

“We tell them, ‘Just call this number. It’s a concierge service. They will walk you through the registration process if you have never used mail before,’ ” McGinnis said. Express Scripts staff will “get all the information from the beneficiary so it very easy to register and use mail order. They will even offer to call their doctor to transfer that prescription to the mail order pharmacy. So it’s truly a concierge-type service to help beneficiaries move.”

Not impacted by the mail-order mandate are elderly beneficiaries who have prescriptions filled in base pharmacies where the cost of drugs to the government also is far less than at retail pharmacies. TFL beneficiaries needing drugs for acute conditions or having maintenance drug prescriptions filled for the first time also can use retail outlets.

Tricare will allow waivers from mandatory mail order in special circumstances, to include TFL beneficiaries in assisted-living facilities or nursing homes where mail order might not be practical.

For several years, Tricare pharmacy officials have led an information campaign to encourage beneficiaries on maintenance drugs to use mail order because of the substantial savings. By 2011, about 1 million military prescriptions a year were being filled through mail order. By the start of 2014, that annual average was 1.77 million, an increase of 77 percent.

During the next year, because of the TFL Home Delivery pilot program, McGinnis said, mail order prescriptions should double to 3.3 million. That’s out of a total of 140 million military prescriptions filled annually across all three venues of base pharmacies, retail outlets and home delivery.

Having led the Tricare pharmacy directorate as its first chief for the past eight-and-a-half years, and more than 36 years as a Public Health Service officer and pharmacist, McGinnis will retire May 1.

Send comments to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120, email milupdate@aol.com or tweet @Military_Update.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Don Gillis (MSgt)April 01, 2014 - 10:21 am

    This program is NOT for everyone. I am one of those who was quite happy to go to my pharmacy and have "control" over my medications delivery and safety. Also, 90 days of prescriptions requires a cabinet full of meds. I am forced for now on two of my medications because they are Brand names, however, I intend to go 'generic'. and avoid this insane merry go round. I was on Home Delivery previous to the 'forced program' and got back to local retail. I am sure I am not alone in this regard. Comment???

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Rodriguez student collects, stuffs backpacks for others

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
30 years ago, Art Koch died keeping the city safe

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

Relay for Life of Fairfield was super

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Weather for Monday, July 28, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Artistic ingenuity unhinged at Contraptor’s Road Rally

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Rockville Trail hike offered

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

National Alliance on Mental Illness meeting Monday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Summertime Fill the Barrel Food Drive ends Thursday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Live music at Solano Town Center mall

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
County fair opens Wednesday in Vallejo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Food preservation class at library

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Canines graduate from CHP training academy

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3

GV Cellars to host Food Bank fundraiser

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Suisun police log: July 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: July 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Renowned cardiovascular surgeon comes to NorthBay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10

Business workshop addresses marketing

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10

 
Fairfield gets new pizza shop

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10, 1 Comment | Gallery

.

US / World

Bills aim to bring family law into 21st century

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
UConn makes 3-D copies of antique instrument parts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Family law bills proposed in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Man dies after lightning strikes 14 in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

California governor to meet with Mexican president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Study: Blue whales at risk of hitting ships

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Gaza war rages despite Hamas, Israel truce pledges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Fighting intensifies near MH17 disaster site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

.

Opinion

 
Arrogance of power evident

By Earl Heal | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: July 28, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
District needs peanut-free schools

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

.

Living

Today in History for July 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Randall: Why a ‘liar’ loves to hear from readers

By Sharon Randall | From Page: B5

 
My 33-year-old daughter blames me for all her problems

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Horoscopes for July 28, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
.

Entertainment

Comic-Con: ‘Avengers’ unleash ‘Ultron’ footage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TV team: Actor, detective role paired for 25 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comic-Con: Kingsley voices animated villain in ‘Boxtrolls’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Lucy’ tops ‘Hercules’ with $44M at box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TVGrid July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con’s dark side: Harassment amid the fantasy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comic-Con: ‘Hobbit’ cast tease trailer, bloopers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: 4 DC Comics brought to TV get event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comic-Con: Radcliffe goes undercover as Spidey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: ‘Ant-Man’ cast revealed: Lilly, Douglas, Rudd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: ‘Blacklist’ fans get black fedoras

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

‘The Vampire Diaries’ takes bite out of Comic-Con

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: ‘Batman v Superman’ stare-down

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comic-Con: Godzilla sequel announced

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

.

Sports

McGloin buried on Raiders depth chart again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants lose in Peavy’s debut, swept by Dodgers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Lawrence Okoye preparing for the NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
It’s ‘Jeff Gordon Day’ at Indy for record 5th time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Byron Scott says he will be LA Lakers’ new coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jaso has 3 RBIs as A’s beat Rangers 9-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Horsey wins Russian Open in playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tim Clark rallies to win Canadian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Spain sweeps to victory in International Crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Langer wins Senior British Open by record 13 shots

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Mudcats take pair from Pro Player Baseball

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline HOF class

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali wins Tour de France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
LeBron deep-sixes number; will be No. 23 with Cavs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Monday, July 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Elizabeth Terry

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Robert Dale Myers Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Pickles July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C. July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C. July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Cryptoquote July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7