NEW YORK (AP) — The military health insurance plan Tricare says Walgreen Company’s drugstore chain, the largest in the United States, will not be part of the network where plan members can get their prescriptions filled.
Tricare did not give a reason for its decision, which was posted in an announcement on its website. It said its network currently includes more than 57,000 pharmacies. Tricare members can have prescriptions filled at Walgreen stores, but because it won’t be part of the network, their out-of-pocket costs will be greater and they will need to pay for the full prescription upfront and then submit a claim to Tricare for partial reimbursement.
Tricare provides health insurance for active and retired military members and their families. Walgreen has said Tricare has about 6 million members.
Tricare’s prescriptions are managed by Express Scripts Holding Co., the largest pharmacy benefits management company in the U.S. When a contract between Walgreen and Express Scripts expired on Dec. 31, Walgreen stopped filling prescriptions for Tricare members and most of Express Scripts’ other clients. The companies spent more than a year publicly arguing about the rates Express Scripts pays to drugstores like Walgreen and other issues.
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Walgreen and Express Scripts reached a new deal in July and Walgreen will rejoin the Express Scripts network Sept. 15. That gives Express Scripts clients the choice of whether to add Walgreen back into their networks.
Walgreen is based in Deerfield, Ill., and it had 7,929 stores as of Aug. 31.