Did you know that you can order your prescriptions online and save money? That’s right – no more rushing to get to the pharmacy on time or having to ask someone to pick up your prescriptions for you. You may even be able to schedule your prescriptions to deliver exactly when you need them with automatic refills!
Pros and Cons of Mail Order Pharmacy
Ordering prescriptions from a mail order pharmacy comes with pros and cons.
- Time Saving: You can save hours by not having to make monthly, weekly, or daily trips to the pharmacy. All you’ll have to do is click a button and wait to receive your medications – no standing in line, no rushing to get to the pharmacy.
- Cost Saving: You can save money on gas and help minimize wear and tear on your car. Using a mail order pharmacy eliminates the need to travel.
- Automatic Refills: Most mail-order offer an automatic refill option. This is great for people who forget to have their prescriptions refilled or pick them up. Some pharmacies will even call your doctor to renew your prescriptions!
- Waiting for Prescriptions: Even though you can order your prescriptions with the click of a button, you still have to wait for your prescriptions. That can be a drawback if you need your prescription immediately.
- Prescriptions Can Be Lost: It’s rare, but sometimes prescriptions can be lost in the mail. However, most mail-order pharmacies will re-ship your medication at no additional cost. If you’re concerned about package theft, it may be in your best interest to pick up prescriptions in person.
- Automatic Refills: Having your prescriptions refilled automatically can be both a pro and a con. If you’re someone who usually sets and forgets, you could end up with a lot more pills than you need!
The Delivery Fee
Contrary to popular belief, most mail order prescriptions can be delivered without a shipping fee! If delivery fees are what was holding you back from using an online pharmacy, you can check that off your list. Pharmacies don’t have to charge a shipping fee because mailing your prescriptions can actually save them money.
They don’t have to pay for the time and labor it takes to stock prescriptions in-store and they can ship to you directly from a warehouse. There may be shipping fees associated with medical equipment and supplies, but most prescriptions can ship free.
When Should I Stick to my Local Retail Pharmacy?
There are only a few downsides to mail order prescriptions. Mainly, you will lose out on the face-to-face interaction with your pharmacist. However, you can always call your pharmacist to ask questions or speak to your doctor instead.
Your local retail pharmacy, like a CVS or Walgreens, can delivery your prescriptions to your door as well. If you are comfortable using your local retail pharmacy instead of searching for a new mail order pharmacy, stick to it instead of trying to fix what is not broken.
When Should I Expect to Receive my Prescription?
Some prescriptions may take up to 14 days to arrive at your door, so you may still need to visit your pharmacy in person to get your cold medicine and other immediate needs.
Long-term prescriptions, though, can be automatically mailed when you need them. If you work with your pharmacy to set up auto-refills, you should receive your prescription in the mail well before you need it so that you never run out of your medication.
Top Mail Order Pharmacies
It’s always a good idea to start by checking if your health plan has its own mail order pharmacy. Many carriers do, and they can save you a lot of money that way! For example, Cigna just merged with digital pharmacy Express Scripts. You can also check with your favorite drugstore chain. CVS, Walgreens, and Publix are just three examples of chains that offer prescription delivery services. You can also consider the following:
Blink Health – What’s unique about Blink Health is that you can have your prescriptions delivered to your home, or you can pick them up from a local participating pharmacy. Either way, you can see the prices before you buy and choose the cheapest and easiest option for you.
EnvisionPharmacies – Envision is divided into three parts. Envision Mail is a typical mail order prescription service, EnvisionSpecialty provides patient, caregiver, and provider support, and Envision Compounding is quite different. The compounding sector creates alternative forms of medications and sends them to patients who cannot swallow pills or have unique allergies.
HealthWarehouse.com – Selling both brand name and generic prescriptions for both you and your pets! Over the counter drugs, diabetic supplies, and home medical equipment is also available. Just create an account and ask your doctor to send your prescriptions to HealthWarehouse.
PillPack – Not only does PillPack allow you to order your medications online, but they can also sort your pills by dose for you. For example, if you both Drug A and Drug B at 8 AM every day, and you take Drug C at both 8 AM and 8 PM every day, you’ll receive two packs for each day: one that contains Drug A, Drug B, and Drug C and is labeled “8 AM,” and one that contains Drug C and is labeled “8 PM.” They are dated so that you won’t lose track. PillPack is now owned by Amazon.
How to Find a Safe Online Pharmacy
Any pharmacy your Medicare plan recommends will likely be legitimate. However, there are many fake online pharmacies that will try to scam you. They appear to be legitimate pharmacies but they actually send fake drugs.
To help raise awareness about these fake online pharmacies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched BeSafeRx. According to the FDA, a legitimate pharmacy will:
- Require a valid prescription from your provider
- Be licensed by your state board of pharmacy, or equivalent state agency. (To verify a pharmacy’s licensing status, check your state board of pharmacy.)
- Have a U.S. state-licensed pharmacist on staff and on call to answer your questions
- Be located in the United States, and provide a physical street address, not just a post office box
How to Report Illegal Medicine Sales
How is my Insurance Plan’s Mail Order Pharmacy Different From Other Online Pharmacies?
Excellent question! Not every insurance plan has its own Medicare mail order pharmacy, so it is important to check your coverage and be sure that you have access to mailed prescriptions.
Additionally, some insurance plan mail order pharmacies are limited in what they can offer, while private online pharmacies operate independently and can function just like a brick and mortar drug store.
Compare Prescription Costs
Even if you don’t want to use the internet for ordering prescriptions and having them delivered, you can at least use it to view drug prices. GoodRx is a leader in drug price tracking. All you have to do is type in the name of the prescription drug you need, and GoodRx can tell you what pharmacy has the best price! You can also use GoodRx to print free coupons and save as much as 80% on some drugs!
GoodRx Prescription Finder Tool
To use GoodRx’s prescription finder tool, click here. Then type your prescription in the search bar. We’re using atorvastatin (Lipitor) for demonstration purposes, but you can use any medication you want prices for. Then click “Find the Lowest Price” beside the red arrow.
Then you’ll come to the price list with several pharmacy options.
Prescription Savings Coupons
When GoodRx, mail-order prescriptions, and your Medicare coverage aren’t enough, there are prescription drug discount cards! Since these cards are not part of Medicare, you can sign up for a card at any time. Having a prescription drug savings card is sort of like having a coupon book.
There may be times when you don’t need your Rx card because your Medicare coverage gets you even bigger savings, but there are other times when your card can save you a lot of money!
Get Medicare Mail Order Pharmacy Coverage Today
Do you have a Medicare Advantage or a Part D prescription drug plan? Do you know if you qualify for LIS, a prescription drug savings program for Medicare beneficiaries? We can help answer your questions and make sure you are getting the best benefits at the best price, and make sure you are eligible for mail order prescriptions.Set up an appointment at no cost to you by calling us at 833-438-3676 or contact us here.
*This post was originally published on February 8, 2018, and updated on January 16, 2019.