SMU to use new pharmacy network in 2014

Benefits U logoImportant changes to SMU’s Health and Wellness Plan pharmacy network are coming in 2014 – “changes that should help the University group health plan and its faculty and staff members save more than $1 million on their prescriptions over the next three years,” says Jeff Strese, executive director of human resources.

Participating pharmacies have agreed to offer greater prescription discounts to remain in the SMU network, which serves all of the University’s medical plans. They include Costco, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Target, Tom Thumb and Wal-Mart, as well as several independently owned stores.

CVS and Walgreens pharmacies will no longer be part of Express Scripts’ SMU network. If you have recently filled a prescription at a CVS or Walgreens, you will receive a letter from plan administrator Express Scripts providing the locations of three network pharmacies closest to the pharmacy last visited.

Express Scripts logoExpress Scripts has created a web portal, Express-Scripts.com/SMU, that will allow faculty and staff members to compare prescription prices at more than 450 Dallas-Fort Worth area retailers. The site will be open during the University’s 2014 open-enrollment period, Oct. 12-31, 2013.

If you currently use CVS or Walgreens but want to take advantage of the new prescription discounts, you must transfer your prescriptions to a network pharmacy by Jan. 1, 2014. You can complete a transfer in one of three ways:

  • Take your prescription container to the new network pharmacy of your choice; they will contact your current pharmacy to transfer the prescription.
  • Call your new pharmacy and ask them to contact your current pharmacy for your prescription information.
  • Ask your doctor to call your new pharmacy with your prescription information.
  • Ask SMU’s Compass Health Pro, Jeremy Garrett, to do the work for you. He can research Express Scripts’ contracted rates at pharmacies near you after Jan. 1, when Express Scripts loads its online database of 2014 prescription pricing. Call after Jan. 1 with your Rx information at (800) 513-1667, ext. 726.

If you currently use a CVS or Walgreens pharmacy to fill prescriptions, you can continue to do so. However, you will pay the full retail cost without plan discounts, and the costs will not apply toward your medical plan deductible or out-of-pocket maximum.

After extensive analysis with Express Scripts, SMU’s Department of Human Resources learned that 99 percent of faculty and staff members currently filling prescriptions at a CVS or Walgreens pharmacy have access to an alternative network pharmacy within less than three miles of their current pharmacy location, says Sheri Starkey, director of total compensation and senior associate director of human resources.

“By asking some faculty and staff members to move to our new retail pharmacy network, all faculty and staff will benefit from the savings our plan will experience over the next three years,” she adds. “This change is one step we’re taking to ensure the continuation of a comprehensive and affordable benefit plan.”

The University’s mail-order prescription plan will remain unchanged.

More information on the new SMU pharmacy plan will be included in the 2014 open-enrollment packages, scheduled for delivery in early October 2013.

> Learn more about 2014 open enrollment at smu.edu/hr

Related:
SMU’s Fall 2013 flu shot clinics begin Sept. 25

About Kathleen Tibbetts

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