Thursday, January 16, 2014

Price Isn't Everything

"How much is a flu shot?" she asked.

"$30," I replied.

"Oh, I was just asking because I know they're $15 at [Warehouse Superstore]."

"I'm sure they are. Of course, after the twenty minute drive to get there, circling ten minutes to find a spot to park, then another ten minutes just trying to weave your way to the back to the pharmacy, only to be told the wait time is going to be twenty to thirty minutes BEFORE they can even get to you to give you the shot, I think it is worth $15 more to not go through that hassle."

<bewildered look, not comprehending at all what I just said> 

The lady walks off.

Good luck at [Warehouse Superstore] I thought.


Matt M said...

I can get my meds at Costco for less than I pay at the Wag. However, the wait is much longer and they never recognize me, unlike Ann at the Wag does.

Some things just don't need to be done cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Matt M, totally agree!

Which is why I like to actually, physically visit the pharmacy and see/interact with/talk to a living, breathing pharmacist as opposed to doing mail order.

By the way, someone suggested to have my MD only write the script for my maintenance meds with only 2 refills, get those filled, and then have the MD write a new prescription once I run out after those three months in an attempt to try and circumvent the whole "after the 3rd refill, you must use our mail order service". Tell me, Crazy, is this a pharmacy hack that really works?

Crazy RxMan said...

I would guess that mail order wouldn't fall for that, but it's sure worth a try...

Crazy RxMan said...

Depending on the maintenance medication and your doctor's willingness to go along with it, I think there is something that might work. Suppose you take Lisinopril 10mg. Get an Rx with 2 refills. Next time, ask the doc to write it as Lisinopril 5mg but double the quantity and get 2 refills.

That might work.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1/16 @7pm: It depends on your prescription plan. I work at a PBM and can count on one hand the number of plans I've seen that reset the count of retail fills (and thus allow you to bypass mandatory mail requirements) by obtaining a new Rx, but it is an option that plan sponsors can select. If they cover retail 3 month fills at all, plans are more likely to just allow maintenance retail fills for a copay somewhere between 3x the monthly retail cost and the 3month mail cost.

Changing the dosage (i.e, 10mg to 2x 5mg) will work in the short term to get around the fill limit, but the original fills will still stay on record, and if you go back to that strength a year later, those earlier fills still will count toward your overall fill limit for that strength.

Most plans have an appeals process in place that can be used to request removal of any retail limits. I've seen successful appeals based on medical necessity (very frequent therapy changes), setting of use (LTC/SNF), just asking for it, and more. Your plan may vary.