May 15, 2015
included a provision in the defense bill giving TRICARE beneficiaries
more choice in their pharmacy options. The House Armed Services
Committee's version of the FY16 defense bill contains language giving
military beneficiaries the option of using a designated "preferred
retail pharmacy" to obtain medications.
The pilot will include
maintenance medications, which after last year's policy change, are
currently only available at a military treatment facility (MTF) or by
the home delivery program. The assumption is that by giving
participating pharmacies the ability to buy medications at rates
available to the federal government, retailers will pass the savings on
DoD will be responsible for identifying the
regional area where the pilot will be conducted, as well as determining
the participating pharmacy retailers. In order for selected pharmacies
to receive federal pricing on medications purchased for beneficiaries,
retailers will need to comply with DoD distribution and compliance
The pilot will be evaluated for government
cost-savings, just as the home delivery program has provided. Skeptics
are concerned that the distribution and compliance requirements may be
costly for the pharmacies, and drive up the costs of prescriptions.
health care convenience and access has long been a goal of MOAA. "We
are in favor of giving TRICARE beneficiaries more choices within their
health care pharmacy options," said MOAA's Government Relations Deputy
Director Capt. Kathy Beasley, USN (Ret.), "and we are hopeful that this
pilot will demonstrate that retail pharmacies can be cost effective."
If enacted, the pilot will run from May 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2018.