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Pharmacy & Formulary


Johns Hopkins Advantage MD PPO administers Part D Pharmacy Benefits for the following groups:

  • Johns Hopkins Advantage MD (PPO)
  • Johns Hopkins Advantage MD Plus (PPO)

Advantage MD Formulary
Cost Sharing Tier
Prior Authorization, Quantity Limits, and Step Therapy
Appeal (Redetermination)

Advantage MD Pharmacy Formulary

The Advantage MD Comprehensive Formulary is a complete list of medications we cover and is approved by Medicare. Our formulary is updated on a monthly basis or whenever formulary changes occur. The Advantage MD Formulary is subject to change at any time upon Medicare approval. Formulary changes will be reflected in the updated formularies and in the formulary changes list

You may also search for a specific drug in our formulary using the formulary search tool. The searchable formulary may not include all covered drugs. Please see the most recent comprehensive formulary document for verification of formulary status. 

The search results and formulary drug list will indicate if any Prior Authorizations, Quantity Limits, or Step Therapy requirements apply.

Medications that have special requirements for coverage are identified in the formulary with the following indicators: 

  • PA - Prior authorization required
  • QL - Drug has a quantity limit
  • ST - Step therapy required
  • NM - Not available at mail-order pharmacies
  • LA - Limited Access, only available only at certain pharmacies per manufacturer’s restriction.
  • B/D - This drug may be covered under Medicare Part B or D depending upon the circumstances.  Information may need to be submitted describing the use and setting of the drug to make the determination.
  • * - Not available as extended days' supply (greater than 30 days' supply)  

Cost Sharing Tier

Our plan’s formulary consists of the following cost sharing tiers:

Cost Sharing Tier 1: Preferred Generic Drugs have the lowest out-of-pocket cost for members and are placed on Tier 1. Generic drugs are listed in italic type in the formulary.

Cost Sharing Tier 2: Generic Drugs have a low out-of-pocket cost for members. Some low-cost preferred brands are also included.

Cost Sharing Tier 3: Preferred Brand Drugs have an intermediate out-of-pocket cost for members. Some non-preferred generic drugs are also included.

Cost Sharing Tier 4: Non-Preferred Drugs have a higher out-of-pocket cost for members.

Cost Sharing Tier 5: Specialty Tier Drugs have the highest out-of-pocket cost for members.

Copays increase from Preferred Generic to Specialty Tier Drugs. Maintenance medication on cost sharing tier 1 through tier 4 may be obtained for a 90 day supply. Specialty Tier drugs have a coinsurance and are limited to a 30 day supply.

Retail Pharmacy Network

The retail pharmacy network includes over 65,000 pharmacies nationwide. The network includes most chain retailers and independent pharmacies. CVS/Caremark mail order pharmacy provides mail order requests to members. The plan’s website includes a pharmacy locator for members and providers to easily locate participating pharmacies.

Mail Order Pharmacy Program

One of the most important ways to improve the health of our members is to make sure they receive and take their medications as you prescribe. Our mail order pharmacy, CVS/Caremark, can help. CVS/Caremark sends a three month supply of maintenance medications in one fill, making it easier for the patient only having to fill four times a year. In addition, a three month supply of maintenance medication on Tier 1 through 4 is available through CVS/Caremark mail order at a reduced copay. Talk to your patients today about mail order pharmacy with CVS/Caremark for better health and health care spending. Doctors and staff can contact CVS/Caremark at 877-293-5325 (option 2), 24 hours a day,  seven days a week.

Prior Authorization, Quantity Limits, & Step Therapy

Prior Authorization

Certain medications require prior authorization before coverage is approved, to assure medical necessity, clinical appropriateness and/or cost effectiveness. Coverage of these drugs are subject to specific criteria approved by Medicare. Established criteria are based on medical literature, physician expert opinion, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved labeling information. 

View the Prior Authorization Criteria  

Quantity Limits

Certain medications have specific dispensing limitations for quantity and maximum dose. These dispensing limitations are based on generally accepted guidelines, drug label information approved by the FDA, current medical literature and are approved by Medicare. To find the quantity limit for certain medications, please see the Advantage MD Comprehensive Formulary or use the formulary search tool.

Step Therapy

Certain medications are required to satisfy specific step therapy criteria. Step therapy criteria simply means that for certain drug products, members must first have tried one or more prerequisite medications to treat their condition before other medications are covered through their benefit.  To find if a drug requires a Step Therapy and requirements, please see the Advantage MD Comprehensive Formulary or use the formulary search tool.

View the 2017 Step Therapy Criteria


  • Formulary Exceptions can be requested when a medical condition warrants use of certain medications not on the formulary. Clinical documentation should be provided to support all requests.
  • Quantity Exceptions can be requested when a medical condition warrants use of quantities greater than listed quantities for each drug. Clinical documentation should be provided to support all requests.
  • Step Therapy Exceptions can be requested when there is contraindication to the prerequisite medication or there is documented trial and failure of prerequisite medication.
  • Tier Exceptions can be requested to provide the drug at a lower cost-sharing tier when the drugs at a lower copayment level have been tried and failed or are contraindicated. Tier 5 (Specialty Tier) medications are exempt from tier exception. Clinical documentation should be provided to support all requests.

How to request Prior Authorization, Step Therapy Exception, Quantity Exception, Formulary or Tier Exception when medically necessary

Appeal (Redetermination)

If a request is denied, an appeal or a redetermination may be filed within 60 calendar days from the date of the first decision.

Vaccine Coverage

Advantage MD provides coverage for a number of Part B and Part D vaccines. Please refer to the pharmacy prescription benefit section of the Provider Manual or the plan's member website vaccine administration policy page.

Medicare Part B vs. Part D Drugs

Johns Hopkins Advantage MD covers both Medicare Part B and Part D medications. Diabetes testing supplies are covered under Medicare Part B. Supplies like meters, lancets, and test strips can be purchased at a network pharmacy, but nebulizers and other equipment must be purchased through a DME vendor. For a complete comparison of which medications are covered by which part, please refer to the Medicare Part B vs. Part D chart.  If you have any questions, call Customer Service at 1-877-293-5325, option 3 (TTY: 711).