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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

February 11, 2005

Medco Q&A

New prescription plan offers 90-day supply option

by Linda Charles

A new prescription drug plan with Medco Health Solutionswent into effect Feb. 1 for ISU employees covered by the ISU Plan. Tim Ashley, employee benefits manager, and his staff answered some common questions about the new plan.

Does the plan affect merit employees?

If you are a non-supervisory merit employee, your prescription plan has not changed. The new plan only applies to faculty, P&S or supervisory merit staff with the ISU Plan medical insurance.

What should I do if I have not yet received my Medco information?

If you need a prescription right away, your pharmacy can fill it if you provide your Social Security number. You may obtain a temporary ID card through the Medco Web site ( You also should contact the Benefits Office staff (4-7680) and they will follow up with Medco.

I've been having my prescriptions filled at a local pharmacy. Can I continue doing that?

Yes. But your share of the costs (co-pay) will be more than if you use Medco's mail service. That's because Medco is one of the nation's largest pharmacy benefits management companies and is able to negotiate discounts on drugs. The discounts are partially reflected through smaller co-pay amounts.

What are the advantages to having my prescriptions filled by Medco?

You can get a 90-day (three months) supply of your drugs for the cost of two months of co-pay.

How long will it take to get my prescriptions through the mail?

Five to eight days for the first request, and three to five days for refills.

Do I have to gather all my prescriptions and send them in, or will Medco do that for me?

You must have your doctor write new prescriptions if you plan to use the Medco mail order service. You don't need new prescriptions if you continue with your local pharmacy and your current prescriptions have refills available.

I had all my medications filled at the end of January, some for 90 days. If I sign up now, will Medco know I don't need some of my prescriptions for a while?

Your January prescription purchase data will be transferred from ISU's previous prescription drug providers (Advance or Med-Impact) to Medco, so its staff will be aware of that. But you still need to get new prescriptions if you want to use the mail order service.

Do I have to get all my prescriptions filled at the same time or can I have some filled at the beginning of the month and some filled in the middle of the month?

You do not have to get all prescriptions filled at the same time.

How do I know if my prescription can be filled for 90 days?

You must ask your doctor to write the prescription for 90 days. If the doctor will not write it for that long, then you can't have the 90 days.

Do I have to have a credit card to buy my prescriptions from Medco?

No, you also can pay with check, money order or debit card.

Do I have to go online to order my prescriptions or are there other ways to order them from Medco?

Your doctor may fax your prescriptions or you may mail them in using the required forms.

I only received one order form with my Medco packet. How do I get more forms?

Make copies of the one you received, request more from Medco or go online and print the generic form. Also, a new (generic) form will be included with each order you receive.

What if I don't want to take the plan-preferred drug? Do I have a say?

Certainly. You may have to pay more for your choice but you certainly have one.

How do I receive a receipt for my prescriptions so I can file for reimbursement under my medical Flex plan?

You still should receive receipts from your pharmacy when you fill a prescription, which you can send in to receive Flex reimbursements. You also may use the online system that Medco has provided to print a list (some pharmacies also will produce a list as requested). If you receive a list from the pharmacy or Medco, remember that you will need to include required elements for reimbursement (patient information, date of service, co-pay/coinsurance, etc.).

Can I still do the automatic reimbursement with my Flex plan under Medco?

Not currently. Wellmark administers ISU's medical flex plan and automatic reimbursement was an option only for the people that used Wellmark/Advance for their prescriptions.

The employees with Health Alliance/Med-Impact always had to file the prescription co-pays.

The Benefits Office staff is investigating whether the data transfer can be developed between Medco and Wellmark to allow for automatic reimbursement.


A new prescription drug plan with Medco Health Solutionswent into effect Feb. 1 for ISU employees covered by the ISU Plan. Tim Ashley, employee benefits manager, and his staff answered some common questions about the new plan.