The cost increases of prescription drug benefits now exceed the increases of inpatient hospital and physician claims. Drug expenses are the fastest-rising cost element for health plans. It’s partly due to the growth in new specialty medications, which have an average annual cost of more than $50,000 and are driving 30 percent of drug benefit costs, despite being used by only 1 to 2 percent of the population (Benefits Magazine, June 2017).
Another contributing factor is the onslaught of drug marketing, pushing doctors and consumers to request expensive brand-name drugs that may not offer the most effective treatment.
Managing these exploding costs is a challenge. The PSC Welfare Fund works hard with CVS Caremark (for active employees and retirees under the age of 65) and its Medicare Part D affiliate, SilverScript (for Medicare-eligible retirees), to provide our members with prescription medications at the lowest co-pays we can.
By taking advantage of 90-day refills through mail service or your local CVS pharmacy, you can further reduce your co-pays. You can find more opportunities to make sure you aren’t paying more than necessary by registering at Caremark.com. There are three ways to register:
- Go to Caremark.com, click the “Register now” button, and follow the instructions;
- Download the CVS Caremark mobile app and create an account; or
- Call CVS Caremark, 866-209-6177, or SilverScript, 866-881-8573, to receive a personalized registration email or text. Once you’ve registered, you can refill prescriptions, check the status of your orders, track your annual spending, locate pharmacies near you and more.
Remember that active employees and retirees under 65 use their basic health insurance card (EmblemHealth, Aetna, etc.) for diabetic medication and the NYC PICA card (call 212-306-7464) for injectable and chemotherapy treatment. Medicare-eligible retirees use their SilverScript card for all prescriptions.
Your CVS ExtraCare Health Card saves you 20 percent on thousands of CVS Pharmacy brand health-related items. The discount applies to regularly priced items of $1 or more at any CVS Pharmacy locations (except for Target) or online at CVS.com. To get the discount, simply present one of the key tags you received in the mail at the register and you will see your savings on your receipt. If you did not receive the key tags, call CVS at 866-209-6177.
A version of this article appeared in the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund Benefits Bulletin.