Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Problem With Mail-Order Pharmacies & Prescriptions

Like most people these days, I've switched all my maintenance/daily prescriptions to my insurance company's mail-order pharmacy in order to save money.

And for the most part, I do save money, although our copays have increased to the point where on my generic meds (which is almost all of them), I save just $4 out-of-pocket by getting a 90-day supply from them rather than a 30-day supply from my local pharmacy. (I'm fairly confident the insurance company saves way more $$$ than I do by my filling my prescriptions with them.)

I set most of my meds up so they automatically refill the prescriptions and send them to me, and so they renew the prescriptions when they expire. Which is good in theory, but since the mail order pharmacy refills a 90-day prescription after 60 days, I end up with a six-month supply or more within a year.

The problem with that is prescriptions get tweaked. My thyroid medicine is fairly regular, but every once in a while my biannual bloodwork shows that I'm on either two much or two little Levoxyl. If I have two unopened bottles with a 90-day supply sitting in my medicine chest, I'm really not thrilled to change my dosage.

At one point, I had over a year's supply of Flexeril on hand, so I finally stopped the automatic refill option. So what happened? I didn't realize I was emptying my last bottle until, well, I went looking for a new bottle in my bathroom cabinet.

So now I'm waiting for the postman to bring me a package with the medicine that is key to keeping my pain levels under control. And I can't go to the local pharmacy, because when I did that on a different prescription, the mail order pharmacy canceled its processing of a 90-day supply. (It took three attempts to get that prescription filled by mail order without running out of the medication on hand.)

But that's life with chronic illness, right? Lots of balls to keep in the air and lots of patience needed.


Samuel Wales said...

Problematic when you have stamina, cognitive and other issues.

Leslie said...

It's always something, right Aviva? I'm totally impressed by your stockpile, and hope that you get the meds you are waiting for ASAP.

Aviva Brandt said...

Thanks, Leslie! I do like to have a stockpile on hand because you never know when you're going to need it. But gosh, I would never intentionally build up these crazy stockpiles that the mail-order pharmacy sends me on its auto refill option. Totally crazy! Until, of course, I run out and then I kick myself for having taken a med off of the auto refill, like now! :) It's funny that when it's not urgent, the meds always get here within three days of requesting them, but this time? It's been 11 days now, and counting. I clearly should have paid extra for the express shipping, but who knew? :)