As a Blue Shield of California Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan member, you must use network providers to get your medical care and services. The only exceptions are:

  • Emergencies
  • Urgently needed care when a network provider is not available (generally, when you are out of the area)
  • Out-of-area dialysis services
  • Cases in which Blue Shield of California Medicare health plan authorizes use of out-of-network providers

You are responsible for paying the full cost of services of unauthorized out-of-network services.

Please refer to Chapter 3 of your plan's Evidence of Coverage for full information on out-of-network medical coverage.

Out-of-network prescription coverage

Using a pharmacy that is not in the Blue Shield of California network

We have a network of pharmacies outside of our service area where you can get prescriptions filled. Generally, we only cover drugs filled at an out-of-network pharmacy when you are not able to use a network pharmacy. To help you, we have network pharmacies outside of our service area where you can get your prescriptions filled as a member of our plan. If you cannot use a network pharmacy, here are the circumstances when we would cover prescriptions filled at an out-of-network pharmacy:

  • If you are unable to get a covered drug in a timely manner within our service area because there are no network pharmacies within a reasonable driving distance that provide 24-hour service. 
  • If you are trying to fill a covered prescription drug that is not regularly stocked at an eligible network retail or mail service pharmacy (these drugs include orphan drugs, high cost and unique drugs or other specialty pharmaceuticals). 
  • Some vaccines administered in your physician’s office that are not covered under Medicare Part B and cannot reasonably be obtained at a network pharmacy may be covered under our out-of-network access.
  • Prescriptions filled at out-of-network pharmacies are limited to a 30-day supply of covered medications.

In these situations, please check with Customer Care to see if there is a network pharmacy near you.

Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan members:

(800) 776-4466 [TTY: 711], 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, year round

Blue Shield Balance (HMO) Plan members:

(888) 802-4423 [TTY: 711], 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, year round

Blue Shield Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members:

(888) 239-6469 [TTY: 711], 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, year round

Blue Shield Employer Group Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug and Employer Group Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members:

Please call Customer Care at the number on your ID card to see if there is a network pharmacy near you.

We recommend that you fill all prescriptions prior to traveling out of the area so that you have an adequate supply. If you need assistance with obtaining an adequate supply prior to your departure, please contact Customer Care.

You may pay more for any drugs you get at an out-of-network pharmacy than you would have paid at an in-network pharmacy. We reimburse for out-of-network pharmacy claims at our contracted rates. The difference will be your responsibility.