We know that this is a scary and unprecedented time for everyone, and in times of uncertainty the last thing you want to worry about is whether you’ll be able to get your prescriptions, especially if you rely on them to treat serious or chronic conditions.
Scripta’s panel of doctors and pharmacists recommends 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.
We’ve pulled together the following tips to help make sure you have the medication 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.
Consider pharmacy home delivery. Many pharmacies offer this service. Both CVS Health and Walgreens have waived all delivery fees during this crisis.
Avoid contact with other shoppers and opt for drive-thru pharmacy pick up. Many pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens and Kroger, offer this type of service.
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 to go to the pharmacy and you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, call ahead. Many pharmacies are happy to make accommodations to help reduce the spread of the virus in the community.
If you’re home sick, elderly or at high-risk for COVID-19, stay home and ask a neighbor to pick up your prescriptions. Going to the pharmacy and being around other shoppers can put you at much greater risk. If you can’t find someone who can go for you, check and see if your local pharmacy is offering dedicated shopping hours.
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, though it can be costly.
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 who may be more vulnerable to the virus. These visits can sometimes be completed over the phone for patients without computer access.
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.