Aetna’s exclusion of Walgreens impacts low-income patients




, Aetna’s exclusion of Walgreens impacts low-income patients

A December choice by insurer Aetna to drop Walgreens from its Illinois Medicaid plan is making it tougher for 1000’s of low-income Chicago residents to get their prescriptions crammed.

The Chicago Tribune stories Aetna’s choice to exclude the Walgreens chain from its Aetna Higher Well being of Illinois pharmacy community impacts about 400,000 state residents. A lot of them are poor and critics say they’re already disproportionately these affected by COVID-19 and unemployment.

In a written assertion, Aetna, which owns Walgreens’ rival CVS, responded it has almost 2,000 in-network pharmacies statewide for Medicaid members, together with impartial pharmacies and people in nationwide and regional chains similar to Walmart and Jewel-Osco.

Nevertheless, Dr. Thomas Huggett, who practices medication on Chicago’s West Facet, stated he has sufferers who need to journey about three miles to a CVS to get a prescription crammed.

Aetna has 271 in-network pharmacies for Medicaid sufferers in Chicago alone, in response to the insurance coverage firm. A lot of them are small, impartial pharmacies that do not provide the hours, conveniences and enormous inventory of available drugs.

“The issue is many small, impartial pharmacies are simply that: They’re small,” Huggett stated.

The shortage of pharmacy entry is a rising concern in Chicago, with some public well being consultants saying greater than a dozen low-income neighborhoods, totally on the South and West sides have gotten “pharmacy deserts.”

“Even when drugs are reasonably priced, if the pharmacy is not accessible, they are not accessible,” Dima Qato, an assistant professor within the division of pharmacy techniques, outcomes and coverage on the College of Illinois at Chicago informed the Tribune.