When is it Best to Use a Mail-Order Pharmacy?

Many people with health insurance are guided to get their prescriptions filled with a mail-order pharmacy, but is this the right choice for you?  The answer is, it depends.   Here are a few things to think about when deciding to use a mail-order pharmacy.

Mail-order may be the way to go if:

  1. You want convenience saving time and gas, since you don’t have to drive to the pharmacy or stand in line, the medication is delivered to your door with free shipping.

  2. You have a chronic illness, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.  Many mail-order pharmacies will give you a 90-day supply instead of only a 30-day supply at your local pharmacy.  This means you are only paying one co-payment instead of three.

  3. You want to be able to talk with someone at any time of the day or night.  Some retail pharmacies are open 24-hours 7-days, such as some Walgreens, RiteAid, and CVS, most pharmacies do not have those hours.

Mail-order might NOT be the way to go if:

  1. You need a prescription right away, such as antibiotics.

  2. You take a customized prescription that needs to be created by a pharmacist (compounded).

  3. You are worried about your prescriptions being lost or stolen.  Although if that happens most mail-order pharmacies will replace it.

  4. You want to talk with your pharmacist for advice, such as what medicine to take for a cold, or getting a flu shot

-Cheryl Fahlman, PhD