Tricare has begun letting its users add caregivers to their online Express Scripts pharmacy accounts, a move that could help patients who are less internet-savvy navigate the refill process and not inadvertently have their refills canceled.
The addition of caregivers to the accounts was announced Thursday after Tricare and Express Scripts, which manages the Tricare Pharmacy Program, rolled out a new process in January that requires patients to log in to their online accounts or otherwise confirm all their automatic mail-order prescription refills.
Caregivers might include family members, friends or health-care providers, such as a home health nurse, according to the announcement. Adding them online also means they can act on the user's behalf in person, such as picking up a prescription from a military pharmacy (check locally for details) or a retail pharmacy.
Adding a caregiver will authorize the person to manage the user's prescriptions, including ordering, picking up, checking the status, answering pharmacists' questions and canceling. The caregiver will also be able to manage the account itself, such as setting up communication preferences and shipping and billing information.
Tricare, the military's health insurance program for some 9 million service members, retirees and dependents, "understands that you may sometimes need support in managing your medications," according to the announcement. "For many beneficiaries who take one or more medications, adding a caregiver means you can have help managing your prescription, if and when you need it."
Adding a caregiver is totally optional. Users can continue to manage their own accounts and can remove caregivers. Up to eight caregivers may be added to an account.
Express Scripts notified Tricare users in December that it would stop automatically sending medications via mail order unless patients manually confirm each time. Officials said the change was in part to reduce medication waste and save beneficiaries money.
From January though the end of March, 5% of those receiving automatic mail-order refills either disenrolled or didn't consent to renew their prescriptions, according to the Defense Health Agency.
Of the patients enrolled in the mail-order pharmacy program in December, 67% were getting automatic refills. As of March, that overall percentage had fallen to 65.
How to Add a Caregiver to Your ExpressScripts Online Account
First gather some information about the caregiver you want to add to your ExpressScripts online account, including their:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Phone number
To add the caregiver, according to ExpressScripts:
- Log in to your online account.
- Click on "Account" and choose "Add a Caregiver."
-- Amanda Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.