Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mail-Order Pharmacy Woes

Mail-order pharmacies are great for people like me who have long-term medications they will need filled on a regular basis for the rest of their lives.  Dealing with mail-order pharmacies, however, continually leaves me wanting to bang my head against the wall.

In January 2012, my doctor wanted me to try out Cayston.  I agreed, and so the order was sent to the CF Services Pharmacy (I think they were(/are?) the only pharmacy that was carrying it or something.  Anyway, I was very impressed with the pharmacy and with how quickly I received my medicines, so over the next few months and doctors visits, I gradually switched over all of my prescriptions to their pharmacy.  And it was great - the service was always awesome when I called, they were friendly and helpful, and my medicines always arrived extremely fast.  There were two downsides, though:  one is that they didn't do 90-day supplies.  The second is that I knew they were a little more expensive when it came to a few medications, but the service was great and I was too busy/ignorant to really look into how MUCH more expensive they were.  Finally, about a month ago, I sat down to really start sifting through some insurance claims (which is a whole other "facepalm" rant - the amount doctors offices and hospitals routinely overcharge people because they don't run the insurance correctly is ridiculous - and they don't pay that money back until you call and bring it to their attention!  If you don't already carefully compare what your doctor's office says you owe for a visit to what your insurance claim says you owe for that visit, I would start incorporating that habit into your routine, pronto!  Because of all the visits surrounding my sinus surgery earlier this year, I was overcharged about $1400 from various doctor and hospital visits just from January to March - but thankfully, after multiple phone calls, all that money has since been reimbursed), .......where was I?  Oh yes, so I sat down to really go through insurance claims, and in the process realized how much money I would save if I used my insurance's preferred mail-order pharmacy, Medco (or ExpresScripts, or whatever they're called now).

And so, when it got to the time that my medications were starting to get low again, I called the doctor's office and asked them to send all new scripts to Medco.  And since then, all I can say is ARGH.  I'm trying to keep in mind that they're saving me hundreds of dollars each year, but they're just so slow compared to CF Services, and getting ahold of anyone to talk to takes forever.  It basically takes 8 days from the time a doctor calls in a prescription for them to fill it; then, if there is any kind of issue along the way, a lot of times that 8 days starts all over again.  And then it can take another week to actually arrived from the time it's processed and shipped.  Maybe I just got spoiled working with a smaller specialty pharmacy - is it normal for mail-orders to take this long?

Sorry if it seems like I'm complaining.  I'm just frustrated after multiple conversations with them about billing and filling the orders, and now they're saying that prescriptions called in on April 9th might not get here until the 30th.  I tried to plan in advance for these meds, but I didn't plan enough ahead that waiting three full weeks for them will be ok.  I'm now remembering this happening multiple times in years past when I have used them.  I guess using the big mail-order pharmacy again is just going to take some getting used to.

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