Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today joined her Republican colleagues in the House and Senate demanding certainty for active-duty servicemembers, military retirees, and their families enrolled in TRICARE who rely on retail and community pharmacies for prescriptions and basic health care services.
In a letter to the Department of Defense, the lawmakers made clear their concerns with recently reduced reimbursements for prescriptions dispensed at in-network retail pharmacies. They also requested more information on how the department plans to ensure TRICARE beneficiaries maintain access to local pharmacies moving forward.
Excerpts from the letter are below:
“It has been brought to our attention that Express Scripts has reduced reimbursements for prescriptions dispensed at in-network retail pharmacies for 2023. These reductions may leave many retail pharmacies unable to participate in the TRICARE Pharmacy Program, thus significantly impacting 9.6 million TRICARE beneficiaries’ access to local pharmacies.
“Most recently, Express Scripts notified pharmacies and beneficiaries that current 2022 pharmacy contracts will expire October 24, 2022, rather than the end of the year. This will only further reduce the pharmacy network for TRICARE patients and their families, and may force beneficiaries to change pharmacies at a time when many receive annual vaccinations.
“Pharmacists continue to be one of the most accessible health care providers in the United States. Over 90 percent of Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy, and 76.5 percent of pharmacies in rural areas are independent community pharmacies. As you know, in addition to dispensing medications and vaccines, community pharmacies provide services that lead to better health outcomes, lower overall administrative fees, and valuable in-person consultations with a healthcare provider.
“Due to the patient access and safety concerns expressed above, we look forward to receiving your response and working with you to ensure TRICARE beneficiaries continue to receive the utmost care from trusted, local health care professionals.”
Click here to read the full letter.