Frequently Asked Questions

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Express Scripts: Claims

Where can pharmacists call for claims processing questions?

Pharmacists can call the Pharmacy Help desk at (800) 922-1557 to assist with claims processing for medications managed under the member’s pharmacy benefit (PBM) at any time of the day or night.

For help with claims processed according to the member’s medical benefit (MBM), pharmacists can call UHA Customer Services, Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm Hawaii Standard Time, at (808) 532-4000, Toll free: (800) 458-4600.

Express Scripts: Formulary

What drugs are excluded?

Please see the list of excluded medications and their alternatives: Express Scripts.

Express Scripts: Prior Authorizations

My patient just changed plans to UHA. How will I know if my patient’s prescription medications require a prior authorization, if they are non-covered, or if they are non-preferred under their drug coverage?

 We recommend that you visit to see if there will be changes to the coverage of your patient’s medications:

  • Which medications are included in our Formulary and which medications will require PA, step therapy, or have a quantity limit
  • Which medications will not be covered

How do I enter PA requests for my patient's medications?

For fastest service visit Express Scripts’ provider portal at

  • This one-stop site will allow you to submit PA requests for medications managed under the member’s pharmacy benefit (PBM) and those managed under the medical benefit (MBM). In most cases you will be able to receive a real-time response. You can also set up email notifications which will send updates either on a daily basis, or if you prefer, only when a decision has been made.
  • PA requests for medications that are managed under the member’s pharmacy benefit may also be submitted via covermymeds.
  • Physicians may also call in PA requests for medications managed under the member’s pharmacy benefit (PBM) at any time of the day or night. And in most cases, you will get a real-time response.
    • PBM Phone: (800) 753-2851
    • PBM Fax: (877) 251-5896
  • For PA requests for medications managed under the member’s medical benefit, call CareContinuum, the plan’s Medical Benefit Manager (MBM), Monday – Friday, 8am to 10pm Eastern Standard Time.  Messages received after business hours will be returned the next business day.
    • MBM Phone: (866) 877-7042 (Press Option #1 for PA questions)
    • MBM Fax: (866) 877-7179

How can pharmacists check on PA status for patients prior to administering or dispensing?

Pharmacists may call the MBM or PBM phone number to obtain status on PA’s or check with the provider’s office who submitted the PA. The Pharmacy can register at also and submit PA’s. They can receive email notifications of status on a daily basis, or just when the decision has been made. Once ESI approves a PA, they will fax a notification to both the prescribing physician and the pharmacy listed on the PA.

  • PBM Phone: (800) 753–2851
  • MBM Phone: (866) 877-7042

How do I know which medications are managed under the member's medical benefit (MBM) and which are under the pharmacy benefit (PBM)?

Many injectable, infusion and specialty medications are managed under the member’s MBM rather than the PBM. Submitting PA requests via portal eliminates the need to differentiate between the two. PA requests for drugs managed as a medical benefit or as a pharmacy benefit may both be submitted on the same user friendly website

If you choose a different submission method, you can find out which medications are managed by the member’s medical benefit (MBM), and which are managed by the member’s pharmacy benefit (PBM) by using the MBM v. PBM Drug Lookup tool available on the Drug Search for Providers tab of the Find Care Providers & Drugs page.

What are UHA’s utilization management requirements?

These clinical programs protect your patient’s health and save them money: step therapy (ST), drug quantity management (QL) and prior authorization (PA):

Step Therapy

  • Step therapy is a program for patients who take prescription medicine regularly to treat a long-term condition, such as arthritis, asthma or high blood pressure. It lets patients get the treatment they need affordably. It helps the plan sponsor maintain prescription-drug coverage for everyone the plan covers. In step therapy, medicines are grouped in categories based on treatment and cost.
  • First-line medicines are the first step. First-line medicines are generic and lower-cost brand-name medicines approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). They are proven to be safe, effective and affordable. Step therapy suggests that patients should try these medicines first because in most cases they provide the same health benefit as more expensive drugs, but at a lower cost.
  • Second-line drugs are the second and third steps. Second-line drugs typically are brand-name drugs. They are best suited for the few patients who don’t respond to first-line medicines. Second-line drugs are the most expensive options.
  • Members who are currently taking a second line drug will not be asked to switch to a first line drug. They will be grandfathered indefinitely.
  • If you prescribe a new medication for a patient with a step therapy requirement, they will be asked to try a first-line medication before a second-line medication.

Drug Quantity Management

  • The drug quantity management program makes sure that patients are getting the right amount of medication and that is prescribed in the least wasteful way. For example, you instruct your patient to take two 20mg pills each morning. If that medication was also available in 40mg pills, we would reach out to you about prescribing one 40mg pill a day instead of two 20mg pills. In addition, if you wrote the original prescription for 30 pills (a 15-day supply), the new prescription for 30 pills would last a full month — and the patient would have just one copayment, not two.
  • This program also makes sure that the prescription doesn’t exceed the amount of medication that the plan covers. If the prescription is for too large a quantity, the pharmacist can fill the prescription for the amount that the plan covers or contact you to discuss other options, such as increasing to a higher strength or getting a prior authorization for the quantity originally prescribed.

Prior Authorization

  • When a prescription requires prior authorization, you can submit a PA request to Express Scripts or prescribe a different medication that is covered by the plan.

How do I register for the portal?

Registration is quick and easy! Visit

You can register with only 6 simple steps and log in right away to begin submitting PA’s online. A tutorial can be found here.

As a provider who submits prior authorizations, is there training information available for my staff to learn how to submit PAs?

Please see the Web Portal Overview for step by step illustrations.

Where are the PA forms for medications?

With electronic prior authorization, spend more time with patients and less time faxing. Visit to submit PA requests any time day or night and in most cases receive a response right away.

How do I request an expedited review?

Using the online PA portal,, or submitting your PA via phone, is the fastest way to receive a response. In most cases you will receive a real-time answer, and if approved, the patient will be able to pick up their medications right away.

Express Scripts: Appeals

What if I want to appeal a decision made by Express Scripts?

If you disagree with a decision reviewed under the member’s pharmacy benefit (PBM), you may contact UHA’s Health Care Service Department Monday-Friday from 8am to 5pm HST to request a peer-to-peer conversation within 30 days of the denial. We will arrange a time for you to speak with our Medical Director or Chief Medical Officer to discuss reconsideration. If you would like to submit a formal, written appeal to UHA, please follow our appeals process described here.

If you disagree with a decision made by CareContinuum (MBM), please contact them at (866) 877-7042, Monday-Friday: 8am-10pm EST. With CareContinuum you will be able to request a peer-to-peer or submit a formal written appeal.

Express Scripts: Contact Information

Do I have to call Express Scripts, or can I call UHA's customer service line?

Express Scripts can answer your questions quickly and accurately around the clock for questions about drugs managed under the member’s pharmacy benefit (PBM). For medications managed under the member’s medical benefit (MBM), any calls received outside of business hours will be returned the next business day.

UHA’s phone lines are also available from 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, except for major holidays. A representative can be reached at: 808-532-4000 (or 800-458-4600 from the neighbor islands) at the following extensions:

  • Customer Services: ext. 297 
  • Health Care Services: ext. 300 
  • Employer Services: ext. 299
  • Premium Billing: ext. 353

Express Scripts Contact Information


  • Member Customer Service: Specific number for member inquiries; listed on the back of the member ID cards.
    Phone: (855) 891-7978
    Available 24/7
  • Prior Authorizations: Contact for physicians to call or fax in PHARMACY prior authorizations.
    Phone: (800) 753 – 2851
    Fax: (877) 251-5896
    Available 24/7
  • Pharmacy Help Desk: For pharmacy use only to assist with getting a claim to adjudicate or understanding a reject message.
    Phone: (800) 922-1557
    Available 24/7
  • TDD: Member Customer Service number for hearing impaired members.
    Phone: (800) 759-1089
    Available 24/7


  • Prior Authorizations: Contact for physicians to call or fax in MEDICAL drug prior authorizations.
    Phone: (866) 877-7042
    Fax: (866) 877-7179
    Mon – Fri 8AM – 10PM (EST), 2AM – 4PM (HST)

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