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Tricare patients set to lose choice of pharmacy option in new plan

WWII Veterans Paul Bohn and Bob Simes
WWII Veterans Paul Bohn and Bob Simes
W. Raybon

Currently, there is a move underfoot to force all Tricare For Life customers to use mail-in pharmaceutical services exclusively.

Many of the retirees whom this will affect are elderly patients with long-time, personal relationships with their local pharmacist; trusted druggists who provide invaluable one-on-one prescription counseling who can identify potential drug interactions or over-prescribed medications in their retired clients.

House Lawmakers have taken up the topic. Nine U.S. Representatives have written to the U.S. Department of Defense’s Tricare program in support of patient choice of pharmacies.

Lawmakers also raise concerns regarding the new mandatory mail order program that was recently imposed upon beneficiaries regarding certain brand-name prescription drugs.

In the government’s attempt to reduce healthcare costs it has also increased Tricare premiums and systematically reduced services.

Published by Stars and Stripes:

Deemed too costly in the age of the Internet, customer service at walk-in Tricare Service Centers will no longer be available to beneficiaries after March 31, 2014.

The TSCs help beneficiaries with administrative matters, including enrollment and billing. They are not directly involved in providing health care.

This change supports the Department of Defense’s efforts to manage the rising cost of providing health care for TRICARE’s 9.6 million beneficiaries.

If you have concerns that your access to your local pharmacist will be limited with Tricare For Life’s new proposal, please contact your U.S. Representative or the National Community Pharmacists Association at 703.683.8200 or email Kevin Schweers or John Norton at kevin.schweers@ncpanet.org /john.norton@ncpanet.org .

Examiner’s Note: Cost-shifting is a practice used by hospitals and insurances companies for decades.

Now the government has plans to redistribute funds from decreases in Tricare services and increased premiums to fund the Affordable Healthcare Act.

In the not-so-distant future, there are predictions of class action lawsuits from patients or patients’ families who may have suffered a disastrous outcome after being essentially forced into an alternative medication or given no option but to use foreign manufactured generic drugs.

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