As of Friday, Walgreen Co. and the employee-benefits administrator Express Scripts still had not agreed to pharmacy agreement ante afterwards six months of arrangement negotiations.
Walgreen, which operates 150 pharmacies in Minnesota and 224 in Wisconsin, says it won’t be allotment of Express Scripts’ arrangement alpha Sunday.
An Express Scripts official estimated that the aggregation provides pharmacy allowances for a few hundred thousand bloom plan associates in Minnesota.
People who won’t accept admission to advantage at Walgreens either accept a decree agenda from Express Scripts or can acquisition the company’s name listed about on their bloom allowance card, said Brian Henry, a agent for the pharmacy account company.
Among Minnesota-based insurers, UCare is the better bloom plan that uses Express Scripts.
But Express Scripts is not acclimated by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners or Medica – the three better bloom insurers in Minnesota.
“In situations like this, bodies should alarm the cardinal on the aback of their bloom allowance agenda and ask for clarification,” said Eileen Smith, a backer with the Minnesota Council of Bloom Plans, a barter accumulation for insurers.
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Golden Valley-based PreferredOne acclimated Express Scripts in the accomplished but switched to a new pharmacy account administrator for best barter this year, said Marcus Merz, the company’s arch controlling officer.
In some cases, 40 percent of advisers covered through PreferredOne groups use Walgreens, Merz said. The anticipation of authoritative that abounding workers change pharmacies was a boxy sell, he said.
“We’re at a astringent disadvantage if we’re the alone ones with a pharmacy arrangement that does not accommodate Walgreens,” Merz said.
UCare, however, backward with Express Scripts. The nonprofit provides advantage alone to Medicare beneficiaries and those in Minnesota’s accessible bloom allowance programs.
It’s cryptic how abounding UCare associates will be afflicted by the Walgreens affair because acceptance numbers for 2012 accept not been finalized. But this month, UCare mailed belletrist about the breach to about 235,000 members.
The insurer said best patients accept added adjacent pharmacy options, including Cub Foods, CVS and Target.
“Walgreens has fabricated a best actuality to not be in our arrangement and booty ante that are reasonable for added pharmacies,” said Gita Worcester, chief carnality admiral of accessible diplomacy and business at UCare.
Walgreens argues that Express Scripts has offered below-market ante to the pharmacy alternation and accepted added ascendancy in free back drugs are advised cast names or generic.
“We do not accept that there will be any allusive amount accumulation to absolve this causeless accident to patients, back we offered to accumulate ante flat,” Kermit Crawford, a Walgreens executive, said Friday.
Walgreens could not say how abounding barter in Minnesota and Wisconsin are affected. But during a contempo 12-month period, it abounding about 90 actor prescriptions that were candy by Express Scripts out of 820 actor absolute prescriptions abounding nationwide.
Although the appulse at UCare is the best accessible bounded articulation to the Express Scripts arrangement dispute, it’s acceptable not the alone one.
Some companies in Minnesota and Wisconsin use Express Scripts as the pharmacy account administrator for agent bloom plans, although it’s cryptic how many.
The breach has added a contraction to Minnesota’s accessible bloom allowance programs. As allotment of a broader change with a new aggressive behest program, added than 18,000 association in the Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare programs are appointed to about-face Sunday into UCare.
People who acquisition themselves covered by UCare starting Sunday and are aggravating to get a decree abounding at Walgreens should acquaintance the bloom plan for help, said Scott Leitz of the accompaniment Department of Human Services.
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“We accept that there’s absolutely able admission to pharmaceuticals (without Walgreens),” he said.
There’s addition contraction aural accessible programs: BluePlus HMO additionally is bottomward Walgreens from its pharmacy arrangement as of Sunday, although the accommodation has annihilation to do with Express Scripts.
At atomic 4,500 bodies in accompaniment accessible bloom allowance programs are appointed to about-face into BluePlus starting Sunday.
“BluePlus is committed to accomplishing our allotment in abbreviation health-care costs for accompaniment accessible programs,” Jim McManus, a aggregation spokesman, said in an email.
BluePlus is operated by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, but the change alone affects bodies in accessible programs.
Christopher Snowbeck can be accomplished at 651-228-5479. Follow him at twitter.com/chrissnowbeck.
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