Walmart Is Barring Shoppers From Doing This, Starting Dec. 15
If there's one thing Walmart is known for, it's the deals: Shoppers come back again and again for a wide variety of products at low prices. But the retailer isn't always able to cater to all customers, which has earned it some pushback from regulars. Recently, many Walmart shoppers were upset to find out that the retailer would no longer be using its normal layaway program, right ahead of the pricey holiday season. And now, another major decision could affect millions of individuals who are counting on the policies currently in place. Read on to find out what you will no longer be able to do at Walmart next month.
A new change will soon affect veterans and members of the military who fill their prescriptions at Walmart, Fox-affiliate KNWA reported on Nov. 11. According to the news outlet, Express Scripts, a pharmacy services company which serves more than nine million active duty service members, military retirees, and their families, recently decided to end an agreement allowing Walmart to serve as a pharmacy provider for the Tricare network.
As a result, Walmart and Sam's Club will no longer be a part of the Tricare pharmacy network, effective Dec. 15, Military.com previously reported. Beginning that date, Walmart will no longer accept the prescription health insurance. All prescriptions for Tricare filled at Walmart will then be consider non-network, and beneficiaries will have to pay the full cost of their medication upfront and file a claim with Tricare for partial reimbursement.
Luke Klein, the vice president of payer relations at Walmart, told KNWA that the retailer was "surprised" to hear that Express Scripts had ended its agreement. According to Klein, the retailer had just signed another multi-year agreement with the company to serve as a pharmacy provider for the Tricare Network on Sept. 30 of this year.
"We value our Tricare and DOD customers and are disappointed in Express Script's decision and we have requested more information from them to understand their decision," Klein said. "We have asked Express Scripts to honor the agreement we both recently signed."
Walmart isn't letting this decision go by uncontested. Klein told KNWA that the retailer is hoping to come to a resolution with Express Scripts that allows it to "continue as a pharmacy provider for the Tricare network."
"We know many members of the military, veterans, and their families rely on Walmart for convenient access to affordable prescriptions and this decision will limit their options," Klein said. "Walmart will continue to offer everyday low pricing on generic drugs that can be accessed by all customers with or without insurance."
According to KNWA, Walmart said it is also committed to supporting military-related individuals through other initiatives such as a commitment to hire 250,000 veterans; creating a Find A Future platform, which will aid men and women transitioning from the armed forces to civilian life; and granting millions to organizations that support veterans and military spouses.
"Walmart is a long-time supporter of providing pharmacy services to our military communities," the retailer told the news outlet in a separate statement.
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On Oct. 20, Express Scripts spokeswoman Jennifer Luddy told Military.com that Walmart is being dropped as a provider after three years due to its reluctance to offer "more highly competitive discounts" to military health beneficiaries. The three-year contract Walmart and Express Scripts signed in 2018 will expire in December. But CVS Pharmacy will be joining the Tricare network at the same time, coming back to the network after a five-year hiatus, according to Luddy.
"This change provides more competitive rates for the Tricare pharmacy benefit and expands quality, convenient pharmacy choices nationwide," Luddy told the news outlet.