This post brought to you by Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.
The effort of Walgreens to continue being a part of the Express Scripts pharmacy provider has been to no avail. Walgreens pharmacy patients are now forced to use their in-network pharmacy benefits elsewhere.
Walgreens offered to hold rates for a new contract flat and did not want to increase rates. However, Express Scripts insisted on being able to unilaterally define contract terms, such as what does and does not constitute a brand and generic drug. Another reason why they were not able to agree on terms was because, Express Scripts also proposed to slash Walgreens reimbursement rates to levels below the industry average cost to provide each prescription. This would cause an increase in rates for patients, while Walgreens wants to keep costs lower for patients.
Since Walgreens and Express Scripts are no longer working together, this means that those patients with prescription insurance plans managed by Express Scripts may have to get their prescriptions filled at pharmacies, not nearly as convenient as Walgreens. Using Walgreens to fill prescriptions is by far more convenient than going elsewhere, considering they offer at some locations, 24-hour and drive through pharmacies. Fortunately, those who belong to insurance plans that are not managed by Express Scripts will not be affected.
In order to minimize this disruption, the annual membership for the Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens is being discounted for the month of January. An individual can join for just $5 and for a family membership, it only costs $10. With the membership, patients can save on more than 8,000 brand name and all generic medications. More than 400 generics are available with a three-month supply for less than $1 a week. Regular annual membership is $20 for an individual and $35 for a family.