Pharmacy Programs for HMO Members

These Pharmacy Programs are available for 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 PDF Document.
  • If you have questions about the program, call the Pharmacy Program number on the back of your 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.

90-Day Supply Program

The 90-day supply benefit program can save you both time and money. With this program, you have the option of obtaining up to a 90-day supply of long-term (or maintenance) medications through a network of contracting extended supply retail and mail service pharmacies. Maintenance medications are those drugs you may take on an ongoing basis to treat conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.


Getting Started Online

  • Visit . Follow the instructions to create a new account or sign in with your username and password.
  • Log in to and follow the links to AllianceRx Walgreens Prime.
  • You can also continue to use your account.

Order Over the Phone

Call 877-357-7463, 24/7, to refill, 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 Members. Complete the mail order form. Mail your prescription, completed order form and payment to AllianceRx Walgreens Prime.

For more information about using mail service:

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 plan materials, or call the number on the back of your ID card.

Prior Authorization

Under this program, your doctor will be required to request pre-approval, or prior authorization, through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois in order for you to get benefits for select drugs.

Step Therapy

The step therapy program requires that you have a 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 prior authorization request for coverage of the other drug.

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

Specialty Pharmacy

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. See the specialty pharmacy program member flier PDF Document for more information.

A split fill program may apply to some specialty medications like select oral oncology (cancer) 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 on your Member ID card if you have any questions.

BCBSIL HMO members can fill their self-administered specialty drug prescriptions at an in-network specialty pharmacy for pharmacy benefit coverage consideration. To find an in-network specialty pharmacy near you, log in to your Blue Access for MembersSM account and click on the Prescription Drugs link. This will take you to Prime Therapeutics, the pharmacy benefit manager. You can find a list of in-network specialty pharmacies for Illinois HMO members in the Forms section.

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: