About prescription drugs

Search the drug list, find a pharmacy and other tools

If your health plan includes prescription drug benefits from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, your benefits are administered by Prime Therapeutics, our pharmacy benefits manager. The links below will take you to Prime Therapeutics’ website. You'll see the covered drug list, find a pharmacy and other resources.

Search the drug list
The drug list, is a list of generic and brand-name drugs covered by a health plan. It's also called a formulary.  Not all drugs on the list may be covered by your plan. Review your plan materials for details.

With the links below, you’ll be asked to choose a drug list. If you’re not sure which list to choose, check your plan materials. Or, call the number on the back of your member ID card.

Search the drug list (formulary) ExternalLink

Find a pharmacy
Use a pharmacy in the network to get the most from your benefits.

Find a network pharmacy ExternalLink

Order prescriptions by mail
Check your benefit materials to see if you can have your prescriptions mailed to you.

Manage mail order prescription ExternalLink

Learn more about prescriptions by mail


Prior authorization and formulary exception form (PDF)  
This form is also called the “Minnesota Uniform Form for Prescription Drug Prior Authorization Requests & Formulary Exceptions.” Your doctor must complete and submit this form. Your doctor can also get this form by calling provider services at (651) 662-5200 or 1-800-262-0820.

Request for prescription drug coverage exception ExternalLink
You or your doctor can complete this online form to start Formulary Exception, Prior Authorization, Quantity Limit override, or Step Therapy authorization request.

Prescription drug claim form ExternalLink
Complete and mail this form to be reimbursed for a prescription.


Frequently asked questions about prescription drugs

Frequently asked questions

Are utilization management (quantity limit or step therapy) requirements placed only on preferred drugs?

Quantity limits and step therapy programs may be on preferred and non-preferred drugs. Refer to the quantity limit drug list and step therapy drug list available on bluecrossmn.com.

Can a mail service pharmacy receive faxed prescriptions?

Yes, you can provide your doctor with a physician fax form so that he/she can send your prescription directly to the mail service pharmacy for you.

Prescriptions faxed for controlled substances will not be processed. You must mail the original prescription signed by your doctor to the mail service pharmacy. For more information about receiving your prescriptions through a mail service, refer to the topic PrimeMail prescription delivery service.

How are drugs selected for the formulary/drug list?

An independent group of pharmacists and doctors, called the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, reviews available drugs on an ongoing basis and then selects those considered “best choices.” They review scientific literature and reports, consult with other health care professionals and use their own expertise to make decisions.

Before a drug is included in the drug list, it must pass a strict review by the committee, based on these criteria:

  • Safety: it must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 
  • Efficacy: it must be effective in treating a disease or symptoms with few side effects. 
  • Uniqueness: the new drug must offer unique qualities compared to existing drugs in the drug list. 
  • Cost: the new drug must demonstrate a positive impact on total health care costs.

Lower-cost drugs are preferred. Often, there are many drugs available to treat the same condition. In some cases, two drugs are the same in effectiveness and safety. In this case, the drug included on the drug list will be the lower-cost drug. Blue Cross negotiates discounts on behalf of our members. We pass these savings on to you by holding down drug coverage costs.

Remember, not all benefit plans are subject to the drug list. Check your plan’s certificate of coverage or other plan information for benefit details.

How do I request a utilization management (quantity limit or step therapy) authorization?

Refer to the Quantity Limit or Step Therapy information available on our website.

How long will the utilization management (quantity limit or step therapy) review take?

It will take approximately five to ten business days to complete the evaluation process.

How much will I pay at the pharmacy?

Check your plan’s certificate of coverage or other plan information for benefit details.

If the quantity limit override is approved, will I be allowed to receive the balance of my original prescription?

You will not be able to obtain the balance of your original prescription. Regulations prohibit a pharmacist from resubmitting a prescription for a narcotic to allow the fill of the original amount. Therefore, once a quantity limit override is approved, you will have to get a new prescription written by your physician and bring it to the pharmacy to be filled.

The drug I take required a prior authorization (PA) and now the drug is subject to a step therapy program. Does my doctor need to submit a new prior authorization request form and a step therapy request form for this current drug I am taking?

As long as your PA has not expired, a new PA request form is not needed. If your doctor feels your current drug is the most appropriate for you then a Step Therapy Authorization form must be submitted and approved by Blue Cross.

What happens if I pay full price for the drug upfront and I am then notified my request has been approved? Will I be reimbursed?

You will be reimbursed minus your applicable copay. Please contact Customer Service at the number provided on your Blue Cross member identification card for instructions on how to submit this claim for reimbursement.

What happens if the utilization management (quantity limit or step therapy) request is approved?

An electronic override is established in the claims system allowing coverage at your next visit to the pharmacy.

What if my utilization management (quantity limit or step therapy) request is not approved?

You may purchase the drug at your own expense. (Note: Public Programs members are not able to pay cash for their medication.)

What is a formulary or a drug list?

A drug list, also called a formulary, is a list of generic and brand-name drugs covered by a health plan. Although a drug may be on the Blue Cross drug list, it might not be covered under your plan. Review your plan’s certificate of coverage or other plan materials for details on your benefits.

What is a generic?

A generic drug is manufactured and sold by a company other than the company that originally made it. For example, the company that developed acetaminophen gave it the brand name Tylenol. When the patent expired, other companies started to make the generic version. Although generic drugs are chemically the same as brand-name drugs, they are typically sold for much less money than the brand-name drug.

Not all brand-name drugs have a generic version available. That’s why it’s important to ask your doctor. If there is a generic available, your doctor can prescribe it instead of the brand-name drug. Sometimes your doctor may feel the brand-name drug is the most appropriate for you. Talk with your doctor to find out what’s best for you.

For more information about generic drugs, refer to our health and wellness resources.

What is a mandatory generic penalty?

If you choose to get a brand-name drug when an equivalent generic drug is available, you also have to pay the difference in cost between the brand-name and the generic drug and any coinsurance and/or deductible that applies. When you reach your out-of-pocket maximum, you would still pay the difference in cost between the brand-name and the generic drug, even though you are no longer responsible for coinsurance and deductible.


What is a NDC Lockout?

Sometimes the exact same drug is sold using different names. This can happen with branded or generic drugs. A drug company may decide to label a drug with only the generic name, even if they did not seek FDA approval for the drug as a generic. This means even though the drug may have a generic name, it is not recognized as a generic and will not be covered as one. Generally speaking, these products are not on our formulary or we may decide to cover only one of the versions.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Ask your doctor if you have questions or concerns about drugs you are taking. He or she can tell you what is most appropriate for you.

If you have questions about your drug benefits, call customer service at the number on the back of your member ID card.

Why would a utilization management (quantity limit or step therapy) requirement be applied to a drug?

Certain drugs have quantity limits to encourage appropriate drug use, enhance drug therapy and reduce costs.