Only 13 percent of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama insurance clients in the state are affected by the insurance company’s new preferred pharmacy network that does not include CVS drug stores, according to an executive at the insurance company.
But those numbers could change during the year as large employers renew their contracts with Blue Cross, said Koko Mackin, Blue Cross’ vice president of corporate communications and community relations.
The new pharmacy network that does not include CVS went into effect Jan. 1 and affects only individuals who have insurance through the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, and plans offered by small businesses, she said.
That’s about 390,000 of Blue Cross of Alabama’s 2.9 million members, Mackin said.
“This may increase as our larger employers renew their coverage throughout the year and make their benefit and network selections for their employees,” Mackin said.
Larger employers can either keep their existing pharmacy network, which includes CVS, or choose from several new pharmacy networks that do not include CVS, she said.
Gary Selby, director of corporate communications for CVS, also said CVS’ exclusion from the new network only affects Alabama Blue Cross plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
“CVS Pharmacy continues to accept all commercial plans offered by BCBS Alabama, which are typically through large employers and other groups of over 50 participants,” he said. “CVS Pharmacy also continues to accept all BCBS Alabama Medicare Part D plans.”
Selby said a person who is unsure if their Blue Cross of Alabama will cover a prescription at CVS can bring his prescription to a CVS store for help.
Blue Cross and Prime Therapeutics, a pharmacy benefit manager partly owned by Alabama’s Blue Cross, reached an agreement last fall that excludes CVS as the only national chain from a new preferred pharmacy network. Walgreen’s is now in the new network, as are other regional chains and independent drug stores.