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Changes coming to TRICARE Retail Network Pharmacies

A U.S. Air Force service member places medications into a paper bag at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. Prescriptions are placed in paper bags for privacy and discretion. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cheyenne Larkin

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FALLS CHURCH, Va. — There are changes coming soon to the TRICARE retail pharmacy network. Starting Dec. 15, 2021, CVS Pharmacy will join the TRICARE network. At the same time, Walmart, Sam's Club, and some community pharmacies will leave the network.

Express Scripts is the TRICARE pharmacy contractor. They manage the TRICARE retail pharmacy network under a contract with the Department of Defense. Express Scripts reached a new agreement that adds CVS Pharmacy to the network of pharmacies.

"Beneficiaries will continue to have many convenient and nearby in-network options," said U.S. Public Health Service Cmdr. Teisha Robertson, a pharmacist with the Defense Health Agency's Pharmacy Operations Division. "Express Scripts' partnership with CVS Pharmacy ensures most beneficiaries have a network pharmacy located near their home or work."
The current TRICARE retail pharmacy network offers access to over 59,000 pharmacies. With this change, nearly 90% of beneficiaries will have access to a network pharmacy within five miles of their home.
Walmart and Sam's Club have more than 5,300 locations nationwide. CVS Pharmacy has nearly 10,000 pharmacy locations. You can find CVS pharmacies inside many Target stores.
A group of around 3,000 community pharmacies will also leave the TRICARE network this year. But more than 14,000 community pharmacies will remain in the network.
Keep in mind that using home delivery or a military pharmacy are still lower cost options for you. You have to pay copayments when you use home delivery or any retail network pharmacy. Although these copayments are set to change next year, it isn't because of this network change.
If you have a prescription at Walmart, Sam's Club, or any other impacted pharmacy, you need to transfer it to a new network pharmacy before Dec. 15. If you filled a prescription at one of the impacted pharmacies, you'll receive communication from Express Scripts. These communications will have recommendations on how you can fill your prescriptions at a new network pharmacy. You can also find a network pharmacy near you by visiting the Express Scripts website. CVS Pharmacy will be in the network starting Dec. 15.  
Do you use specialty or limited distribution medications? If so, you'll get a letter from Express Scripts detailing how you can transfer your prescriptions to a new specialty network pharmacy. You may also receive a phone call from an Express Scripts representative. They can help you move your medication to a new specialty network pharmacy that's near you.
If you fill a prescription at Walmart, Sam's Club, or community pharmacy leaving the network on or after Dec. 15, it will be a non-network pharmacy. This means you'll have to pay the full cost of your prescription up front. You'll also need to file a claim for partial reimbursement. Check out Filling Prescriptions to learn more. You can also refer to the TRICARE Pharmacy Program Handbook
If you need to find a new network pharmacy, you can search for one on the Express Scripts website. You can also call Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303 to help you find one close to you. Do you have questions about your pharmacy benefit? You can learn more by visiting Pharmacy on the TRICARE website.

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