Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources for your prescription drug coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a drug list? 

The BCBSIL drug list, also known as a formulary, is a continually updated list of covered drugs. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs are chosen based on their safety, cost and how well they work. The drug list is reviewed by a group of doctors and pharmacists. This group makes routine updates based on new prescription drugs and other changes in the market. Members should show this list to their doctor and/or pharmacist. Health care providers should check the drug list when making prescription drug choices for you.

What if my doctor prescribes a drug that is not on the drug list? 

If a drug is not on the drug list, call the number on the back of your BCBSIL member ID card to see if the drug may be covered. Based on your benefit plan, you may have to pay more for a drug that is not on the drug list.

What is a generic drug? 

A generic drug is the same as a brand name drug in dose, strength, performance and use. Generics are also approved by the FDA. But generic drugs often cost less. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the choices you have and which drug may be right for you.

There are two types of generic drugs:

  • A generic equivalent is made with the same active ingredient(s) at the same dosage as the brand drug

Examples of a brand drug and its generic equivalent:

Brand Drug-PROZAC || Generic Equivalent-fluoxetine 

Brand Drug-LIPITOR || Generic Equivalent-atorvastatin 

Your pharmacist can often substitute a generic equivalent for its brand counterpart without a new prescription from your doctor

  • generic alternative is often used to treat the same condition, but the active ingredient(s) differs from the brand drug.

Your doctor can decide if a generic alternative is right for you.

Can I get a brand drug when a generic equivalent is available? 

Some plans may require you to pay more if your doctor prescribes a brand drug when a generic equivalent is available. A generic equivalent is made with the same active ingredient(s) at the same dosage as the brand drug. 

How much will I pay for my medication? 

The prescription drug list has different levels of coverage, which are called "tiers." How much you pay out of pocket for a prescription drug is often less if you choose a drug that is a lower tier.

Your prescription drug benefit plan and whether the drug is on the drug list can determine the amount you may pay out of pocket.

To find out what you may pay, log in to Blue Access for MembersSM

What are dispensing limits?

Some drugs may have limits on how much medicine can be filled per prescription or in a given time span. This is often based on the drug maker's research and FDA approval. If your doctor thinks you need more of a drug than what the dispensing limit allows, you can still get the drug. But you may be responsible for the full cost of the prescription, based on your benefit plan.

What is a specialty drug? 

Specialty drugs are those used to treat rare or less common serious or chronic conditions. Examples are hepatitis C, hemophilia, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs often call for careful adherence to treatment plans, have special handling or storage needs and may not be stocked by retail pharmacies.

Some members may be required to use a select specialty pharmacy to fill these prescriptions to get the highest level of benefits.

View the Specialty Pharmacy Program Drug List  which has a reminder about coverage for self-administered specialty drugs. 

What is prior authorization? 

The prior authorization program is designed to promote safe, cost-effective medication use. Certain drugs may require pre-approval, called prior authorization. Your doctor will need to request prior authorization through BCBSIL in order for you to get benefits for these drugs.

  • If the request is approved: You will pay for your share of the drug based on your benefit plan.
  • If the request is not approved: The drug will not be covered under your benefit plan. You can still fill your prescription, but you may have to pay the full amount charged, based on your benefit plan.

Some benefit plans may also require members to try a preferred drug before coverage for a non-preferred drug is approved.

Check your benefit materials to see if your benefit plan includes the prior authorization program. 

What is step therapy?

The step therapy program requires that you have a prescription history for a "first-line" drug 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 drug 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 prior authorization request for coverage of the other drug.

Check your benefit materials to see if your benefit plan includes the step therapy program. 

What is the Member Pay the Difference Program?

Some BCBSIL prescription drug benefit plans have a Member Pay the Difference Program. The program makes sure members use medicines that are safe, work well and are cost-effective. When you fill a prescription for a covered brand name drug when a generic equivalent is available, you may pay more.

Check your benefit materials to see if your benefit plan includes the  Member Pay the Difference Program .

What is MedsYourWay®?

MedsYourWay® is a program that works with your BCBSIL health plan pharmacy benefit to automatically search for and find lower costs for your eligible medicines. It compares available drug discount card prices to your plan cost share amount.

When you fill your prescriptions at a participating in-network retail pharmacy, simply show your BCBSIL member ID card to the pharmacist, and you’ll pay the lower available price option at check-out. What you pay will count toward your yearly plan deductible and/or out-of-pocket maximum amount.

Who can I contact for questions?

You should talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any questions or concerns you have with any drugs that you are taking or are prescribed. He or she can discuss the choices you have and which drug may be right for you.

If you have any questions about your prescription drug benefits, these programs and what drugs are covered, call the number on the back of your BCBSIL member ID card.

MedsYourWay is not insurance. It is a drug discount card program that compares the drug discount card price for an eligible medication at participating pharmacies to the member’s benefit plan cost share amount and then applies the lower available price. Eligible medications are subject to change, prescription prices may vary by location and not all pharmacies participate. MedsYourWay is administrated by Prime Therapeutics, LLC, which administers the pharmacy benefit management services for your plan.

Glucose Meter Offer

BCBSIL offers blood glucose meters to members with diabetes at no additional charge to help you manage your condition. See the glucose meter flier for more information about this offer and monitoring your blood glucose level. 

Members with BCBSIL prescription drug coverage should check the Drug List to see which test strips for the meters offered are listed as preferred brands. Coverage and payment levels for test strips may vary based on your pharmacy benefit plan.

Commonly Prescribed Drugs

View the  Commonly Prescribed Formulary Medications list . These are drugs taken regularly for an ongoing condition.

Last Updated: Jan. 04, 2024