Tricare for Life Users Surprised by Drug Cost Increase


Over the last few weeks, many Tricare for Life beneficiaries were caught off guard by the recent increase to pharmacy costs, including a change that moved drugs that had been completely free to a charge of $7 for a 90-day supply.


Drug prices increased Feb. 1 for all Tricare users, including retirees over 65 on Tricare for Life.


A 90-day supply of generic drugs received through the system's Express Scripts mail-order pharmacy went from free to $7. Co-pays on brand-name drugs received through the mail went from $20 to $24 and from $49 to $53 for non-formulary drugs.


For prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies, a 30-day supply for generic drugs increased from $10 to $11, while brand-name drugs went from $24 to $28; non-formulary drugs went from $49 to $53.


Drugs filled at a military treatment facility continue to be free.


Drug costs typically increase slightly every Feb. 1. But the increase from free to $7 for generics received by mail came as a surprise for many users on Tricare for Life, according to feedback I've received by email. Many users had read that changes to Tricare happening Jan. 1 didn't really impact them.


Tricare for Life users really are not impacted by the big changes to Tricare that hit Jan. 1 beyond this minor calendar shift that most users won't even notice.


What was poorly communicated, perhaps, was that the pharmacy increases were completely separate from the Jan. 1 updates. Like all pharmacy cost changes in years past, those updates do impact Tricare for Life users.


Source:  Amy Bushatz/ Feb26, 2018


Yours in service,


Chuck Weber