Registering for mail-order pharmacy service now easier

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AFRNS) -- Registering for Tricare's mail-order pharmacy service is now easier with the launch of the new Member Choice Center. A phone call or mouse click is all that is needed for retirees to begin receiving their prescriptions by mail, said Tricare officials.

By using this new service, not only will the beneficiary receive mail-order enrollment assistance, but the center's staff will actually contact physicians to get new prescriptions and forward them to the mail-order pharmacy for processing. The switch from retail to mail order becomes virtually effortless for the beneficiary.

"We are always looking for ways to improve customer service and add value for Tricare beneficiaries," said Army Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, deputy director of the Tricare Management Activity. "They wanted a more user-friendly program and the MCC delivers."

Beneficiaries do not have to download forms or wait to have forms mailed; they can go to the "My Benefit" portal on www.tricare.mil/ or to www.express-scripts.com/TRICARE to complete the registration. There is also the option to call the MCC toll free at (877) 363-1433 to switch from the retail program to mail-order service.

When a beneficiary calls the center, a patient-care advocate from Express Scripts Inc., Tricare's pharmacy benefit provider, explains the program and offers to transfer the current prescriptions to the mail-order option. If the beneficiary agrees, the advocate submits a prescription transfer request to the patient's physician.

The mail-order pharmacy can save beneficiaries as much as 66 percent on medications for conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma or diabetes. The beneficiary may receive up to a 90-day supply of most medications for the same amount they would pay for a 30-day supply at a retail pharmacy.

The Department of Defense saves money, too. The department pays 30 to 40 percent less for prescriptions filled through the mail-order service compared to retail pharmacies. The department's savings could be substantial -- $24 million a year -- with just a 1 percent shift of prescriptions from retail to mail order.

"As with all health entitlements, there are things our beneficiaries can do to reduce costs," said General Granger. "The military treatment facility is the most cost-effective option, but that's not always available for some beneficiaries. Mail order is the next best thing. Having prescriptions filled by mail saves them time and money. It also lowers the cost for the entire military health system."