Anthem Blue Cross Adds Over 125 Additional Small or Independent Pharmacies to Neighborhood Pharmacy Network for Medi-Cal Members
New Network Takes Effect Today
Since Anthem Blue Cross (Anthem) announced the launch of the Anthem Neighborhood Pharmacy Network for its Medi-Cal members in March, an additional 128 additional independent and small retail pharmacies have signed on to serve low-income Californians.
“We are glad that Anthem is able to support the small and independent businesses in the neighborhoods where our members live,” said Steve Melody, president of Anthem’s Medicaid health plan in California. “Through today’s launch of the new Anthem Neighborhood Pharmacy Network for Medi-Cal members, Anthem has introduced another initiative to slow the growth in prescription drug costs and provided another opportunity to ultimately save money for California taxpayers.”
The majority of the Anthem Neighborhood Pharmacy Network consists of small or independent pharmacies. The network also preserves access to large, national chains such as Rite Aid, Walmart, Target, Safeway, Vons, Save Mart Supermarket, Raleys, Ralphs, Kmart, Costco and more for those who prefer to pick up their prescription drugs where they might already be shopping.
The new Anthem Neighborhood Pharmacy Network officially launched today in ten counties -- 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.
Anthem has made extensive efforts to notify Medi-Cal members of the new network. Efforts include:
- Mailing on or around March 1 explaining the new network
- Signage at pharmacies in Anthem Neighborhood Pharmacy Network welcoming Anthem’s Medi-Cal members
- Initiated English and Spanish language automated phone calls to members to inform them about the new retail pharmacy network.
- Established a dedicated call center to assist members with the new network.
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 potential benefits to the state, small and independent pharmacists will be poised to take advantage of an increase in customers coming to their businesses.
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.