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Pharmacy changes policy

Nicole McAlee | Friday, January 18, 2013

Thanks to a new service offered by University Health Services (UHS) in conjunction with Walgreens Pharmacy, it will now be easier for Notre Dame students to fill their prescription medications through private insurance companies. Walgreens at UHS is a new pharmacy management service offered by UHS allowing students to use private insurance for payment of prescriptions.

Director of University Health Services Ann E. Kleva, R.N., MSA, explained that UHS felt the need to update their pharmacy services to better serve students.

“It’s not so much a policy change as a provision of services. … We needed to look and see where we were going in the future and what would be the best service for our students,” Kleva said. “It surely was in the best interest of the students where we could file right from our system for private insurance.”

Previously, students could not fill prescriptions using private insurance. They had to pay the full price of the medication-sometimes 500 to 1,000 dollars per refill, according to Kleva – and the full charges of the medication were applied to the student’s account for them or their parents to pay or file with insurance.  

“We were a private, University-owned pharmacy and we did not have the capabilities of filling private insurance prescriptions. Either the student or the parent, if they wanted any reimbursement at all, needed to file with the private insurance company,” Kleva said.

Now, the Walgreens pharmacy in UHS fills prescriptions through private insurance. Students may pay a co-pay (a small portion of the actual cost of the prescription) according to their individual private insurance at the time of service.

“With insurance, oftentimes going to the physician’s office you pay a small portion of the service and the insurance company pays the rest. … The students only have to pay their copay, whereas before students that were on medication that could cost 500 dollars to 1,000 dollars monthly,” Kleva said.

So far, the new pharmacy service has been a resounding success.

“Our business officer, Connie Morrow, said she has received [more than] 180 phone calls expressing satisfaction,” Kleva said.

She noted that students might still use the UHS pharmacy service even if they have concerns about finances or confidentiality, or other special needs.

“We have students with exceptional needs who need exceptional support and we are still working with Walgreens to serve those students that truly have more needs,” Kleva said. “Any student with a special need can still speak to our business office about self-pay or confidentiality.”

Kleva said that Walgreens was a natural choice for UHS after the opening of the Take Care/Walgreens Employee Wellness Center in July 2012.

“The Take Care/Walgreens Employee Wellness Center is operating on campus for employees only. However, prior partnership with the University made the decision to utilize Walgreens/Take Care for UHS pharmacy management a natural one as we continually look for ways to improve services for our students,” Kleva said.