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European edition, Saturday, September 1, 2007

Tricare patients now can register for the mail-order pharmacy electronically or by phone, cutting down on paperwork filing and expediting the process, Tricare Management Activity officials said.

The new system won’t necessarily be financially beneficial for overseas patients who can get their medications directly from a military treatment facility, said spokesman Austin Camacho said.

“It’s really only of value, and potentially of great value, for those overseas … who are living away from a military treatment facility,” Camacho said. “Being in another country and trying to get the prescription right could be a challenge.”

Deployed troops who need long-term medication, such as blood pressure medication, also use the mail-order pharmacy system for its ease in receiving their prescriptions directly, he added.

On Wednesday, Tricare launched the Member Choice Center, which lets patients apply for their prescription drugs either via the Internet or by phone. Beneficiaries no longer must download forms or wait to have forms mailed. Instead, they can go to the “My Benefit” portal on www.tricare.mil, or to www.express-scripts.com/TRICARE, to register. Patients also can call the center at 1-877-363-1433 in the United States to switch from the retail program to the mail-order pharmacy program, Camacho said. The number is not toll-free if called from outside of the States.

And, after enrollment, the center has the ability to contact physicians to get new prescriptions, and forward them directly to the mail-order pharmacy for processing.

“We are always looking for ways to improve customer service and add value for Tricare beneficiaries,” Army Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, deputy director of Tricare Management Activity, said in a statement.

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