This year, the UC Student Health Insurance Plan will no longer cover Walgreens prescriptions due to the company’s failure to reconcile negotiations with Anthem Blue Cross.
Students covered under UC SHIP can no longer receive network benefits — such as subsidized prescription costs — at Walgreens and other pharmacies under its leadership, including OptionCare, Duane Reade and Happy Harry’s. Walgreens and Anthem Blue Cross are currently discussing plans for a new contract, though UC health insurance still covers major pharmacy chains like CVS, Rite Aid, Kroger, Target and Walmart.
The UCSB Student Health pharmacy also accepts transferred prescriptions and offers mail-order service, allowing students to receive much-needed prescriptions without leaving the house.
However, on-campus pharmacies may not carry the same prescription drugs as stores like Walgreens or CVS, according to Anthony Ellington, a pharmacy technician at UC Berkeley’s Tang Center.
“We don’t necessarily carry all the same drugs that a Walgreens pharmacy might,” Ellington said. “[For example], we don’t carry any controlled substances higher than a Percocet.”
Fourth-year Spanish major Lourdes Hernandez, who previously filled prescriptions at Walgreens, said the change came as a surprise but was easily resolved.
“I wouldn’t really say that the Walgreens contract termination actually affected me,” Hernandez said. “All I had to do was transfer my prescription to CVS, which was more convenient anyway.”
In the Santa Barbara area, CVS pharmacies outnumber Walgreens stores with a ratio of 4:1.
For more information regarding the transfer of SHIP-covered prescriptions, contact UCSB Student Health at (805) 893-2116. To find a new network provider contracted with Anthem, visit ucop.edu/ucship.