A new lawsuit filed in California this week alleges that Blue Cross is discriminating against HIV/AIDS patients, among others, forcing patients with certain preexisting conditions to use mail-order only for their pharmacy care.
Under the new program, HIV/AIDS patients' insurance policies will no longer cover medications at local pharmacies, according to the suit filed Friday by Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C., and Santa Monica.
HIV/AIDS patients will instead be required to purchase their prescription drugs from a mail order pharmacy, while Blue Cross members who do not suffer from one of the targeted conditions under the same policies will continue to enjoy full access to the pharmacies of their choice, according to the suit.
Health plans and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) forcing patients to lose access to their trusted community pharmacist and instead receive medications through the wasteful mail order system deprives these patients of a much needed health care provider.
For patients with chronic illness, their pharmacist is a key player in their ongoing care, and often the provider they speak to the most. For a plan to deny them of that relationship is harmful.