Pharmacy Programs for Non-HMO Members 

These pharmacy programs are available for non-HMO members.

  • Over-the-Counter Equivalent Exclusion Program

    Medications with an equivalent available over-the-counter (OTC) are usually not covered through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) prescription drug plans.

    Some facts to consider:

    • You will not usually receive coverage for brand and generic prescription medications that have OTC versions available at the same prescription strength.
    • You may still purchase the medication – either by prescription or over-the-counter – but you will be responsible for the full cost of the drug.
    • Choosing to purchase the OTC version will often save you money.
    • To see if a specific drug is part of the program, view the over-the-counter equivalent exclusion program drug list.
    • If you have questions about the program, call the number listed on your member ID card.
    • Talk with your doctor before making any changes to your current medication regimen. As always, treatment decisions are between you and your doctor.

    This program does not apply to members who have outpatient prescription drug coverage through their medical plan, processed by BlueSCRIPTSM.

  • Mail-Order Program

    Express Scripts® Pharmacy, the mail-order pharmacy for members with BCBSIL prescription drug coverage, provides safe, fast and cost-effective pharmacy services that can save you time and money. With this program, you can obtain up to a 90-day supply of long-term (or maintenance) medications through Express Scripts Pharmacy. Maintenance medications are those drugs you may take on an ongoing basis to treat conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. Download the maintenance drug list  to check if your medication is included.

    Ordering Through Express Scripts Pharmacy

    Getting Started Online

    You have more than one option to fill or refill a prescription online or from a mobile device:

    • Visit  Follow the instructions to register and create a new profile.
    • Log in to and follow the links to Express Scripts Pharmacy.

    Order Over the Phone 

    Call 1-833-715-0942, 24/7, to refill or transfer a current prescription or get started with home delivery. Please have your member ID card, prescription information and your doctor's contact information available.

    Through the Mail 

    To send a prescription order through the mail, log in to Blue Access for MembersSM. Complete the mail order form. Mail your prescription, completed order form and payment to Express Scripts Pharmacy.

    For more information about using mail order, you can:

  • Specialty Pharmacy Program

    Specialty medications are those used to treat serious or chronic conditions. Examples include hepatitis C, hemophilia, cancer and multiple sclerosis. They often require careful adherence to treatment plans, have special handling or storage needs, and may only be stocked by select pharmacies. More information is available in the Specialty Pharmacy Program member flier.

    You can download the Specialty Pharmacy Program Drug List, which includes a reminder about coverage for self-administered specialty medications.

    A split fill program may apply to some medications like select oral oncology (cancer), multiple sclerosis and iron toxicity drugs. This program lets you try the medication first to make sure you can tolerate any potential side effects. You will get a partial fill of your prescription and only pay for what was filled (a prorated cost of your benefits).

    Coverage benefits and requirements may vary based on your plan benefits. Call the number listed on your Member ID card if you have any questions.

    To order through Accredo®:

    • For new prescriptions — Ask your doctor to call in your prescription to 1-833-721-1619 or e-prescribe your prescription to Accredo. Your doctor can find e-prescribing information on their website.
    • For existing prescriptions — You can request a transfer of your existing prescription for a specialty medication by calling 1-833-721-1619.

    A specialty pharmacy coordinator will contact you to confirm your correct mailing address and arrange delivery of your covered medications.

    When you purchase specialty medications through Accredo, you can have your self-administered specialty medications delivered directly to you, or to your doctor's office.

    You also receive at no additional charge:

    • Support services for managing your drug therapy
    • Educational materials about your particular condition
    • Help with managing potential medication side effects
    • 24/7/365 customer service phone access

    BCBSIL members who use oral oncology or hemophilia specialty drugs may have other in-network specialty pharmacy options.

    Log in to your Blue Access for MembersSM account to find a preferred specialty pharmacy near you.

    Accredo is a specialty pharmacy that is contracted to provide services to members of BCBSIL. The relationship between Accredo and BCBSIL is that of independent contractors. Accredo is a trademark of Express Scripts Strategic Development, Inc.

  • Prior Authorization/Step Therapy Program

    The prior authorization/step therapy program is designed to encourage safe, cost-effective medication use. This program may be part of your prescription drug benefit plan. To find out if your specific benefit plan includes the prior authorization/step therapy program, and which drugs are part of your plan, refer to your benefit materials.

    Prior Authorization

    Under this program, your doctor will be required to request pre-approval, or prior authorization, from BCBSIL in order for you to get benefits for the select drugs.

    Step Therapy

    The step therapy program requires that you have prescription history for a "first-line" medication before your benefit plan will cover a "second-line" drug. A first-line drug is recognized as safe and works well in treating a specific medical condition, as well as being a cost-effective treatment option. A second-line drug is a less-preferred or likely a more costly treatment option.

    Step 1: If possible, your doctor should prescribe a first-line medication right for your condition.

    Step 2: If you and your doctor decide that a first-line drug is not right for you or is not as good in treating your condition, your doctor should submit a step therapy exception request for coverage of the other drug.

    If you have questions about the prior authorization/step therapy program, call the number listed on your BCBSIL member ID card.


  • Vaccine Program

    If you have coverage through BCBSIL, vaccinations may be covered under the medical benefit or prescription drug benefit, based on your plan. Select vaccines can be conveniently administered at a pharmacy near you. These vaccines can help protect you and your covered family members from illnesses such as the flu, pneumonia, shingles, meningitis, HPV, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

    To see which vaccines are covered under your plan, check your benefit materials for details and any necessary copays. 

    • The select vaccines covered under the prescription drug benefit are conveniently administered at a participating vaccine network pharmacy. Just hand your member ID card to the pharmacist.
    • To see a complete list of all participating pharmacies, search the pharmacy network on and filter for vaccine pharmacies. 
    • Before you go, be sure to confirm the location's participation and hours, vaccine availability and ask about any other age limits, restrictions or requirements that may apply.

    More information is available in the  Pharmacy Vaccine Program member flier.

  • Pharmaceutical Care Management

    If you have BCBSIL prescription drug benefit coverage, you have access to our team of clinical pharmacists and other resource tools to help answer questions you may have about your prescriptions.

    The Pharmaceutical Care Management (PCM) program helps you get the best results from the medicines you take. A member of the PCM team may reach out to talk with you about the medicines you take. The medication review by a clinical pharmacist helps make sure the medicines you are taking are safe and work well. The pharmacist can also share ways to help you lower your out-of-pocket costs for your prescriptions.

    For more information about how PCM works:


Last Updated: Jan. 03, 2024