By mid-summer, Dutchess County school district employees and retirees must get most of their prescription drugs delivered by mail to save their health consortium money.
Area pharmacies fear the change will hurt local businesses.
Most public school districts belong to the Dutchess Education Health Insurance Consortium.
The consortium says the mail-order mandate could save $2.2 million a year.
The consortium allows schools districts to join together and buy health insurance for their employees. Their group discount helps lower premiums.
Consortium plan options cover active school workers, their dependents and retirees through Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield. It's currently optional to receive maintenance medications — drugs taken on a regular basis — through mail-order pharmacy Express Scripts Inc.
As of July 1, DEHI Consortium members must use the mail-order service to get their maintenance medications.
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