WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2011 delivers a prize to service members and retail pharmacies alike.
(THE NEWS: House passes bill to prevent increase in military copays at retail pharmacies. For the full story, click here)
Because it temporarily prohibits copay increases for patients covered under the Tricare program who buy their drugs from retail pharmacies, it expands the range of choices that the men and women of the armed forces have for places to purchase their medications, whether they choose small community pharmacies or national chains.
Tricare beneficiaries weren’t forbidden from using retail pharmacies, of course, but copay increases would likely discourage many from buying their drugs from them. Now that the disincentive is temporarily eliminated, retail pharmacies have a whole pool of potentially new customers -- service members and their families -- to which they can market their products and services.