The company that covered our prescriptions was Caremark Rx. They were decent. Sometimes we'd have to jump through a few hoops to get a specific drug approved, but nothing more than most insurances do.
Then, in 2007 Caremark RX merged with CVS, the pharmacy chain. Nothing changed at first other than the name on our cards.
Until Saturday. We got a letter from CVS Caremark telling us about "some important changes to your prescription benefit plan that will start January 1, 2010. These changes are designed to help you and your employer keep drug costs down and to offer you convenience and choice."
Looking at their new plan, I don't see convenience and choice. I see the Caremark Pharmacy Services branch of the company which oversees our pharmacy benefit management plan forcing us to purchase our medications from the CVS/pharmacy branch of the company.
Previously we had the option to get our prescription filled at any pharmacy, or we could save money by getting 90-day supplies through the mail order service.
We are supposed to jump up and down and say "YAY!" because they have now given us the additional option of getting a 90-day supply at the reduced price but instead of getting it mailed to us we can also choose to pick it up at a local CVS/pharmacy.
I wouldn't be bitching if that was the only thing they changed. Heck, we might even have opted to switch some of our prescriptions to the 90-day plan to save on them. (We've never done their mail order service because everyone we know who has done that has had at least one prescription screwed up.)
Oh no, the part that has me absolutely LIVID is that our "Any network pharmacy" coverage is now limited to 2 fills only on long-term medications. That would be my anti-depressants. That would be hellbob's diabetes medicine. That would be hellbob's gout medicine. That would be my ADD medicine. Hell, I don't even know if I can legally pick up my ADD meds at the CVS/pharmacy or if I would be required to get them mail order since they are a Schedule 2 drug.
I have two main reasons I don't want to switch my prescriptions from where they are:
1) We have been getting all our prescriptions filled at the same Walgreens for 10 years now. They are conveniently located for us. The service is excellent. They have NEVER made an error on our prescriptions. Quite frankly, we have never in all these years even been a little disappointed in the service we've gotten from them.
1a) Did I mention conveniently located? It is 1.5 miles from our house. 4 minute drive, tops. And both hellbob & I drive right past it on our regular routes to work. OK, nearest CVS/pharmacy? I had to Google it because quite frankly, I couldn't remember where any were near us. Oh hey, there's one. It's 4 miles away, in a neighborhood we never go to, and it will take 11+ minutes for us to drive there. Oh, but there's another one. Let's check that... The most direct route from our house is 4.4 miles & will also take 11 minutes. Or, if we're really in a hurray we can go over to the freeway to get there. Then we would be driving 6.1 miles, but it would only take us 10 minutes to get there. This one is in a neighborhood we are in once in a while, but not regularly. Yes CVS/Caremark, you are certainly more convenient. *eyeroll*
2) The second reason may or may not be a factor. I don't know yet. One of my medications, the one for ADD, is methylphenidate, more commonly known as Ritalin. It is a bitch to get the prescriptions filled because it is a Schedule 2 drug. This means that every single month I need to get a paper prescription from the doctor. I need it in my grubby little hands because it's not one that the doc can fax in. Then, when I get my precious paper to the pharmacy they fill it for one month. The next month, same thing. Besides needing the paper prescription, my doc is also not allowed to write if for any refills.
Given that hassle, it would seem that the mail order 90-day supply would be an awesome thing.
Problem is, Ritalin is available in generic and not all generics are created equal. Even though the generic is supposed to work exactly the same, it is a common complaint that the generic Ritalin just doesn't work as well as the name brand. I had found that to be true, as had a friend who is also on it but for narcolepsy. And we also both noticed that the brand of generic that Walgreens carries does not have the same problem. Walgreens carries the generic that is manufactured by Watson and is just as effective as the name brand.
I've never done the mail order from CVS/pharmacy because I don't know which generic they carry and I didn't want to be stuck with 3 months of a useless drug that's so restricted that I wouldn't be able to replace it until the 3 months were up. Now, I'm going to have to go to one of those not so convenient CVS/pharmacys and see if they will tell me which brand of generic they carry. And because it's Schedule 2, I don't know if they even will.
I am just so fucking pissed that they are forcing us to use their pharmacy, and that they are trying to sell this shit as convenience and choice.
Walgreens has a prescription savings club that we have never looked into because we had the prescription coverage. I think it's time to look into it because unless CVS Caremark is a drastic savings (at least 25 or 30 %) we will be going with Walgreens plan and telling CVS Caremark to go fuck themselves.
I really don't like the idea of being told I have to stop giving my business to a store that has given us nothing but excellent service & that I have to go to a business I've never dealt with.
A google search on CVS Caremark turned up THIS ARTICLE from the Wall Street Journal
The FTC already is probing CVS Caremark's business practices after lawmakers and the National Community Pharmacists Association raised concerns, including allegations the company improperly used patient data from its pharmacy-benefit operation to steer customers into its CVS drug stores.