Anthem Blue Cross Introduces Neighborhood Pharmacy Network for Medi-Cal Members
Majority of Locations are Small or Independent Pharmacies
Anthem Blue Cross (Anthem) announced the launch of the Anthem Neighborhood Pharmacy Network for its Medi-Cal members, which will provide low-income Californians with a choice between the personal service neighborhood pharmacists are known for and the convenience provided by large chains such as Rite Aid, Walmart, Target, Costco, Safeway, Vons and more.
“As a partner with the state in providing quality health care for our Medi-Cal population, Anthem Blue Cross continuously looks for ways to increase efficiency so we can ultimately save money for California taxpayers,” said Steve Melody, president of Anthem’s Medicaid health plan in California. “With the creation of the Anthem Neighborhood Pharmacy Network where more than half of the pharmacies are small or independent, we can continue to provide convenient, local service for our members while working to slow the growth in prescription drug costs. In addition, we’re also able to help the communities where Medi-Cal members live by providing them the opportunity to keep their spending within their own neighborhoods.”
The new Anthem Neighborhood Pharmacy Network will be officially launched in ten counties starting on May 1. Those ten counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Tulare. Anthem has 769,000 Medi-Cal members in these counties.
According to an analysis done by Anthem Blue Cross, more than 99 percent of Anthem’s Medi-Cal members using the Neighborhood Pharmacy Network will be within 1 mile of an in-network pharmacy. This network was piloted in 19 rural California counties starting in Nov. 2013, and has proven successful in providing both access and quality.
Prior health care expenses are a contributing factor to the Medi-Cal rates that the state pays insurers such as Anthem Blue Cross to provide health care for low income Californians. The Anthem Neighborhood Pharmacy Network was created, in part, to help moderate prescription drug costs in the Medi-Cal program, which may help slow the rate of increase in costs for the program in future years.
In addition to the benefits to the state, small and independent pharmacists will be poised to take advantage of an increase in customers coming to their businesses.
To ensure that members have convenient access to pharmacists, large, national chains are also in the network, including Rite Aid, Walmart, Target, Safeway, Vons, Save Mart Supermarket, Raleys, Ralphs, Kmart, Costco and more. These chain locations comprise less than 50 percent of the network.
Anthem Blue Cross serves approximately 857,000 Medi-Cal members in 29 counties. Those counties include Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Inyo, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Sierra, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Tuolumne and Yuba.
Anthem Blue Cross has served Medi-Cal members in California since 1994.