The University Record, February 8, 1999

New prescription drug program started by BCBS/United

From the Benefits Office

Identification cards were mailed mid-January to participants in a new prescription drug program that can provide savings on prescription purchases, plus a database service that checks for conflicts between new prescription purchases and those previously entered.

The new United Prescription Drug Card program offer, effective Jan. 1, is available to University participants in the Blue Cross Blue Shield/United of Omaha Major Medical health insurance plan.

Participants can receive discounts on prescription drug purchases when they patronize a network pharmacy. The amount of savings varies by the type of drug purchased and the pharmacy at which the prescription is filled.

There are 52,000 pharmacies in the nationwide network, including all the major chains. Two University pharmacies participate, University Hospital Ambulatory Care Pharmacy and the North East Ann Arbor Health Center Pharmacy. Participants whose pharmacy is not on the list can notify United of Omaha, which will invite the pharmacy to join provided it meets the required criteria.

Additionally, prescriptions filled by a participating pharmacy are entered into the pharmacy network database, which automatically checks for conflicts or incompatibilities with other prescription medications purchased using the card, based on certain criteria. If a problem is identified, the pharmacist is promptly alerted. This system can help avoid potentially dangerous drug-to-drug interactions.

To use the new card, participants simply present it along with a prescription to any participating pharmacy. The pharmacist electronically verifies eligibility and determines what savings may apply to the drug. That price will apply to a new prescription or a refill. Participants pay 100 percent of the negotiated price at the pharmacy, then, as in the past, submit receipts to United for payment, subject to any deductible, co-insurance and other plan provisions.

Diversified Pharmaceutical Services Inc. administers the program in cooperation with United of Omaha, a Mutual of Omaha company. Diversified maintains a 24-hour customer service line, (800) 889-0375, that includes multi-lingual staff and a telephone device for those with hearing impairments. Participants who travel can call this number for the name of a participating pharmacy. Participants who did not receive a card, or lost it, should call the Benefits Office, 763-1217, for assistance.