Helping Members Manage Their Prescription Needs Through the COVID-19 Crisis
3 MINUTE READ
From early refills to home delivery, see the steps Horizon BCBSNJ is taking to make sure members get easier access to their prescription medications.
By Saira A. Jan, M.S., Pharm.D., Director of Enterprise Pharmacy
As the challenges of COVID-19 reshape our daily lives, some things remain constant – like the importance of getting the care and medications people need to stay healthy.
To help minimize any disruptions that can prevent access to care, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) is making sure its members know how to use their benefits to still get the prescription drugs they need to manage chronic conditions or maintain good health.
We understand that today’s uncertainties stretch in many directions – from concerns over the availability of drugs that come to us from across the world to social distancing steps that may require us to remain at home for an extended period of time. Flexibility is key right now, so we have built more flexibility into our pharmacy program guidelines.
Here is what we are doing, together with our Pharmacy Benefits Administrator (PBM), Prime Therapeutics (Prime) and our retail pharmacy partners, to better accommodate and inform our members during these uncertain times.
Early refills: Horizon BCBSNJ members who have refills available on a prescription are now permitted to request an early refill from their pharmacy, regardless of how much of the medication they may have on hand. This program is available until June 30, 2020, and applies to all Horizon BCBSNJ members, including those whose coverage is through a self-insured employer group. If the refill is for a specialty medication or is considered a controlled substance, there are some restrictions. Members seeking early refills for these types of prescriptions should consult with their pharmacists.
According to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New Jersey Department of Health, the best way to avoid the spread and lessen the impact of COVID-19 is for people who are at higher risk or experiencing symptoms to stay home. Members now have two ways, at no additional cost, to get their medicine without having to travel to the pharmacy: mail order and free home delivery.
- Mail order with AllianceRx: Horizon BCBSNJ members, depending on their plan, can switch the way they obtain their prescriptions from visiting a retail location to home delivery. It’s possible to transfer prescriptions to mail order by registering with the AllianceRx Walgreens Prime website. The home delivery option also makes it possible for eligible members to receive a 90-day supply of the medications they take regularly. A customer service representative can also help you make the change over the phone.
- Commercial members (Individual and small group accounts) call 888-844-3828.
- Medicare members call 800-391-1916.
- Free home delivery from your local pharmacy: To make sure there is no disruption in your access to prescription drugs, pharmacies such as Walgreen, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid and many others have waived charges for home delivery of prescription medications. Members should contact their local pharmacies directly for more information about no-cost delivery options.
Plans to keep drug supplies steady: Horizon BCBSNJ is working closely with Prime to monitor all drug supply information from the Food and Drug Administration related to the coronavirus. While we do not currently anticipate a disruption that could affect the quality or quantity of medications for our members, our PBM is collaborating with its network of suppliers, wholesalers, manufacturers and pharmacies to identify any supply risks before our members can be impacted. If any medication shortages occur, we have developed strategies to ensure that our members retain access to all appropriate therapeutic alternatives.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak is changing each day, Horizon BCBSNJ is updating its policies and programs regularly – in Pharmacy and across all elements of health care coverage – to adapt to an ever-changing health care environment. We will continue to keep our members informed on how to access their benefits and work closely with all partners to minimize any disruption from this outbreak and keep everyone healthy and safe.