Ardmore pharmacist Paul Reed called it a 90 percent win.


Ardmore pharmacist Paul Reed called it a 90 percent win.

 

After pharmacists from across the state expressed concerns with a mail order plan, the Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board has adopted a pharmacy benefits plan agreed upon by the Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma.

 

The board had adopted a plan in August that had insurance participants purchasing their medications from pharmacists in their Maintenance Network. These pharmacies include CVS, Walmart and Medco’s mail-service pharmacy.

 

Pharmacists across the state were concerned that the plan would pull significant business out of local pharmacies, cost the state more money and send state dollars to the mail-order service based in New Jersey.

 

The new plan addresses these concerns and are estimated to save approximately $33 million in the first year alone.

 

Most of the savings will be realized by plan members in the form of lower out-of-pocket costs when purchasing prescriptions. More than 34,000 Medicare supplement plan members, who were not impacted by the original plan design adopted last August, will also save money when purchasing prescriptions.

 

Members can fill prescriptions for up to a 90-day supply at all HealthChoice Network Pharmacies at the same cost. This includes local independent pharmacies and national chain pharmacies. Members also have the option to use mail service.
“The process has not been easy but the end result will benefit plan members, state agencies, school districts, and hundreds of local government employers in the form of lower premiums and copays for prescription drugs,” said Frank Wilson, OSEEGIB administrator.

 

According to Reed, who owns Reed Family Pharmacy, the plan has the following benefits:

 

Employees are not forced to change pharmacies.

 

Business stays within the state.

 

The 70 to 80 percent of pharmacies that PPOk estimated would close under the prior plan will not close.

 

Small communities will continue to have access to local pharmacies.

 

However, there was one drawback to the plan.

 

“Every pharmacist takes a reduction for each prescription filled,” Reed said.