Empire Plan Prescription Drug Program Update

On January 1, 2008, UnitedHealth Care (UHC) and Medco will replace Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and Caremark as vendors for the Empire Plan Prescription Drug Program. The following information is current as of 12/19/07. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Retail Pharmacies

UHC/Medco is contracting with both retail chain pharmacies and independent pharmacies to participate in the Empire Plan pharmacy network. They expect to contract with most of the retail chain pharmacies currently in the Empire Plan pharmacy network. They are still negotiating with Duane Reade, a major New York City chain.  If they are unable to reach an agreement with the local, retail pharmacy you currently use, you would still be able to use the pharmacy but your benefits would be significantly reduced.

The first time you fill a prescription at a retail pharmacy after January 1st, it may be helpful to bring the following information:

Rx Group: UH0712959

Bank Identification Number: 610014

Mail Service Pharmacy

If you previously used the Caremark Mail Service Pharmacy and had refills remaining, your prescription (except for compound drugs and controlled substances that will require a new prescription) will be automatically transferred to the Medco Mail Service Pharmacy as of January 1, 2008. The address for the Medco Mail Service Pharmacy is:


P.O. Box 747000

Cincinnati, OH  45274-7000

UHC/Medco Phone Numbers

You should first call 1-877-7NYSHIP (1-877-769-7447) and select the prompt for the Prescription Drug Program.  W hen you press this prompt you will be given the option of speaking to the current vendor, Caremark, or the new vendor, United HealthCare/Medco.  Itís important that you listen to the message carefully before making your choice.  For information regarding your 2007 prescription drug coverage, the current PDL, or if you want to order a refill of a prescription before 1/1/08, you should select prompt #1 to be connected to Empire Blue Cross/Caremark.  If you want to know if a drug is on the 2008 Empire Plan PDL or you have questions regarding ordering prescriptions from the Mail Service Pharmacy after 1/1/08, you should select prompt #2 to be connected to UHC/Medco. 

Medco Website

A link to the Medco website will be posted on the Civil Service website by January 1, 2008. More detailed information about the transition to Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield/Caremark is available in a special Empire Plan Report which was mailed to all Empire Plan enrollees in December. It is also posted on the Civil Service website www.cs.state.ny.us. Click on the Benefit Programs link, then NYSHIP Online, then Using Your Benefits, then Publications. Under Publications scroll down to select the Empire Plan Prescription Drug Special Report, December 2007.

If you need additional assistance, please contact Health Benefits in Contract Administration at 1-800-342-4306 or 518-785-1900 ext. 283.