N.Y. (WETM) — New York State is launching a new Medicaid pharmacy benefit program designed to expand access to prescription medications.

On April 2, the state transitioned to a new pharmacy benefit program called NYRx. With NYRx, the state’s Medicaid program will pay costs directly to pharmacies and eliminate the need for third parties. This new process is designed to create transparency with pharmacy reimbursements, streamline administration for practitioners, and allow the state to better negotiate prices from drug manufacturers.

For the 8 million people enrolled in Medicaid across New York State, this program is expected to improve coverage and access to prescription medications. Over 5,000 pharmacies across the state participate with NYRx, making it the largest pharmacy network in New York.

NYRx is designed to give Medicaid recipients access to more prescriptions, lower the number of restrictions on those prescriptions, and reduce confusion on coverage of brand-name and generic medications.

“The eight million New Yorkers enrolled in Medicaid will receive their same prescription medications, only from a larger network of pharmacies at no extra cost and with fewer restrictions and less confusion than before,” said New York State Medicaid Director Amir Bassiri.

Providers and patients now have access to a list of all medications covered by Medicaid. People can use a search feature on the New York Department of Health’s website to see if a specific medication is covered by Medicaid. The feature also shows if the name-brand or generic version of the drug is covered.

“The shift to NYRx today will greatly enhance patient access to lifesaving medications and other pharmacy services in both rural and urban areas across the state,” said Pharmacists Society of the State of New York President Heather Ferrarese. “It will increase transparency, and Medicaid patients will have one expansive drug formulary and access to one of the largest pharmacy networks in the country so they can use their pharmacy of choice.”

For more information, you can visit the NYRx website. People with questions about NYRx or their coverage can also email NYRx@health.ny.gov or call the Medicaid Helpline at 1-855-648-1909 or TTY 1-800-662-1220.