Stuck-at-Home Guide: Filling Prescriptions


During this virus pandemic, the last thing anyone should worry about is filling and receiving prescriptions, especially if you rely on them to treat serious or chronic conditions.

Experts recommend keeping several weeks’ worth of prescriptions you take regularly on hand in the event that you need to stay home, due to illness or shelter-in-place restrictions, or there are drug shortages at your local pharmacy.

Here are some tips to help you get the supply you need, and that you also get your prescriptions in the safest way possible:

●     Ask your doctor for a 90-day prescription. You can either fill this at your local pharmacy or your health plan may have a mail order pharmacy that will offer discounted copays to send a 90-day supply of medication to your home.

●     Fill your prescriptions online. Check if your local pharmacy has an online order option or see if trusted services like PillPack or Capsule are available in your area.

●     If you need a new prescription for a medicine you’re already taking, consider telehealth. Given the growing risks and rapid spreading of COVID-19, many doctors are offering telehealth visits to patients. Many insurance providers are covering telehealth visits, and they are now fully covered for patients on Medicare. These visits can sometimes be completed over the phone for patients without computer access.

●     Consider pharmacy home delivery or drive-thru pharmacy pick up. Many pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens and Kroger are offering drive-thru pharmacy pick up services, and CVS Health and Walgreens have waived all delivery fees.

●     Check with your health plan to see if you can fill your prescription early. Typically, this isn’t easy, but during the COVID-19 crisis, many plans like Aetna, Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield have temporarily waived early refill limits.

●     See if your pharmacy will fill your prescription for a greater fill quantity. During the COVID-19 crisis, some Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) are waiving fill quantities on prescriptions, allowing you to stock up and save an extra trip to the pharmacy.  

●     Consider paying cash. If your health plan won’t cover an early prescription fill or additional fill quantities, you may still be able to get them for the cash price of the drug – but it can be costly.

●     If delivery is not an option for your drugstore, and you are sick or at high-risk for COVID-19, stay home and ask a neighbor to pick up your prescriptions. If you can’t find someone who can go for you, check and see if your local pharmacy is offering dedicated shopping hours or will make a delivery for you.

●     Call ahead if you need to go to the pharmacy and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms. Many pharmacies are happy to make accommodations to help reduce the spread of the virus in the community.

●     Talk to your local pharmacist if you have any issues, they are there to help you. Many pharmacies now offer 24/7 chat services and phone support options.

Bio: Eric Levin is CEO of Scripta Insights, a healthcare IT solution and employee benefit company that saves self-insured employers and its employees millions of dollars on prescription drugs each year.

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