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  Public Employee Press

PEP Feb 2004
Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

Cutting the high cost of drugs
Q & A on mandatory mail order prescription plan

Every time you use the union’s mail order prescription program, you save money and the DC 37 Health and Security Plan saves money. These savings help the Plan keep providing this and many other benefits.

On Jan. 1, the mail order program became mandatory for all Plan participants who are prescribed maintenance drugs. With drug use growing as prices rise constantly, medications consume an ever-larger portion of the Plan’s overall benefit spending. To help curb escalating expenses, the Plan made the mail order program mandatory for all members,
retirees and eligible dependents who take long-term medication for chronic conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, cholesterol and hypertension.

(For short-term medicine like an antibiotic, use a local pharmacy.)

Using this program is simple:
(1) Have your doctor prescribe a 90-day supply (multiply the number taken daily by 90 days) with one refill for an additional 90 days.
(2) Call the Plan’s Inquiry Unit at 212-815-1531 and request a mail order brochure and envelope.
(3) Fill out the envelope, insert your prescription and the appropriate co-pay (by check, money order or credit card) and the medicine will be mailed to your home.

Call the mail order program at 1-800-233-7139 with any questions about your medication or co-payment or to use an alternative mailing address, such as your job or a relative. There is no charge for using the mail order program. In fact, you save money. You get three months of medication for the price you would pay for two months’ worth at a retail pharmacy.

Q. Can using CFI save me money?
A. Yes. The mail-order program saves purchasers one-third of the cost of maintenance drugs at a local pharmacy. By mail, a 90-day supply of medication costs $6 for generic drugs, $16 for medications on the DC 37 Health and Security Plan’s preferred list and $30 for non-preferred brand-name drugs. At a pharmacy, generics cost $3 for a 30-day supply (or $9 for 90 days), preferred list drugs are $8 for 30 days ($24 for 90 days) and non-preferred drugs are $15 for 30 days ($45 for 90 days).

Q. My physician prescribed a new maintenance medication for me. How must I obtain my medication?
A. When your physician prescribes a new maintenance medication for you, get two prescriptions: one for a 30-day supply with two refills, and the second for a 90-day supply, with one refill. Take the 30-day prescription to your local pharmacy. Two weeks after you obtain the third month’s supply from the pharmacy, send the second prescription to CFI for a 90-day supply of the medication.

Q. What if I do not use the mail program after I get the 3 prescriptions from my local pharmacy?
A. If you do not use CFI to obtain your maintenance medication, the Plan will not pay its share of the cost of the medication from the pharmacy for the fourth month, nor will the Plan reimburse you.

Q. Can CFI dispense medications that need to be refrigerated?
A. Yes. The service will ship medications requiring refrigeration in cold packs.

Q. Does CFI use easy-open bottle caps?
A. CFI ships prescriptions with child-resistant safety caps, but it will provide easy-open caps when requested.

Q. I take a long-term medication that is considered a PICA drug. What will my co-payment be under the mail order program?
A. Long-term PICA medications (psychotropic, injectable, chemotherapy and asthma) can be obtained by mail order.
There are no co-payments for chemotherapy and asthma medications. Psychotropic and injectable medications have no co-payment for generics and a $12 co-payment for brand name drugs.

Q. I am taking a medication classified as a controlled substance. Can I use the mail order program?
A. Please contact CFI, our mail order program, at 1-800 233-7139, to discuss the best way for you to use this program.


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