When Covered California decided to force health insurance companies to cancel their policies on December 31, 2013, they set in motion a cascading effect that have left many new plan members without access to prescription drug coverage. At least two pharmacies have recognized the problem and are offering help to cover vital prescription medications to new Affordable Care Act health plan members that have yet to received neither member ID numbers nor an invoice.
Walgreens and Rite Aid to the rescue
Both Walgreens and Rite Aid are offering to refill certain prescriptions at no up front costs. The pharmacies will need proof that you have enrolled in a new ACA health plan and attempt to verify the enrollment through the carrier. (Good luck verifying anything as the phone lines are swamped). The path will be easier if you are already a customer at one of the respective pharmacies and they can see your previous prescriptions.
Walgreens prescription help details
1. Confirm your new coverage with your insurance company. Bring a copy of one or more of the following:
- your online healthcare marketplace application
- your new enrollment confirmation letter from your insurance company
- any print materials which confirm your new insurance enrollment
2. If you don’t have eligibility materials, our pharmacy staff can work with you to determine eligibility.
Rite Aid ACA prescription help details
- Bring proof of enrollment of your new coverage confirmation print out from Healthcare.gov website along with your prescription or container refill.
- Our pharmacists will attempt to verify coverage with your insurer.
- If coverage cannot be verified, we may be able to provide you with a 15-30 day transitional supply of your medications at no upfront costs. Once coverage is confirmed co-pays may be applicable.
Help for California
While the website doesn’t mention Covered California, a call to local Rite Aid confirmed they will work with the California enrollments as well. The pharmacist said they had not seen too many people take advantage of the no upfront cost program, but he expected more interest as the health plans are having real problems getting the membership ID numbers out to people.
Covered California dropped the ball
People who need monthly medications like insulin put their trust and faith in Covrered California to effectuate a smooth transition from the plans they mandated be cancelled into the new plans. To date, Covered California is not offering any help, explanation or apology to those families left out in the cold by their poor planning and execution of the enrollment process. Fortunately, local pharmacies understand the need and peril that some individuals have been placed in because of the failings of Covered California.
Covered California creates confusion with extended payment deadline and leaves one man paying for his insulin out-of-pocket.