Retirees Rail as They Wait for Drugs to Arrive in Mail

By Riley, Karen | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 23, 1996 | Go to article overview

Retirees Rail as They Wait for Drugs to Arrive in Mail


Riley, Karen, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The company that runs a mail-order prescription drug program for federal retirees has been overwhelmed by a surge in demand, and its customers are complaining about delays and other foul-ups with their medicines.

As a result, two powerhouse trade associations are slinging mud, and each is blaming the other for the problems. Four members of Congress have pressed the Clinton administration for a report on the situation.

"I have literally spent one month on this phone with this company," said Irma Cullison of Baltimore, the wife of a retired engineer at Fort Holabird.

Mrs. Cullison said that when her order finally arrived, her bottle was seven pills short, and her husband's was shy two pills.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores in Alexandria is a staunch opponent of mail-order delivery of medicine. It is at odds with the Chicago-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, which operates the retiree health plan.

In an ad that ran yesterday in newspapers, including The Washington Times, the drugstores charged Blue Cross with "causing chaos for retirees."

Blue Cross has scheduled newspaper ads for today, blaming the pharmacies for an "unprecedented campaign of misinformation."

Until this year, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard-option plan for federal workers paid all drug costs for the 800,000 federal retirees enrolled in Medicare Part B - the optional coverage that most retirees buy for the fees that Medicare Part A doesn't cover.

In January, as an alternative to an overall increase in premiums, the health plan started charging these retirees a 20 percent co-payment on prescription drugs bought at a retail pharmacy. The retires still could get free medicine from the health plan's mail-order service, operated by Merck-Medco Managed Care Inc. in several locations around the nation.

Faced with such a choice, thousands of retirees abondoned drugstores for free - but slower - mail-order service. The mail-order volume ballooned from 95,000 prescriptions in December to more than 235,000 in January, about 45,000 more than Blue Cross had anticipated, a Blue Cross official said yesterday.

The load apparently was too much for Merck-Medco.

Phil Schneider, a spokesman for the retail pharmacy chains, said he has heard many complaints lately from his members as well as from retirees.

One Pennsylvania pharmacist was asked to redo a prescription after the mail-order company mistakenly dispensed a thyroid medicine at 10 times the prescribed dosage, Mr. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Retirees Rail as They Wait for Drugs to Arrive in Mail
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.