Nowadays, just about everything can be delivered right to your door. From chef-prepared meals and designer clothes to groceries and personal care products, there’s no shortage of companies competing to provide exactly what you need, often in two days or less.
Many of these services, such as online retail shopping, have become household staples. Others tend to fly under the radar. One growing — but still lesser-known — modern convenience is the home delivery of prescription drugs.
Depending on your how your health plan is structured, you may be required — or at least strongly encouraged — to use a home delivery pharmacy service. Often this prompts the question: “What difference does it make where I get my prescriptions?” In short, a lot.
Better Adherence, Lower Cost Prove Important
It’s important to understand that home delivery is best used for maintenance medications. These are drugs that treat long-term, chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. If you’ve got a prescription you take every night before bed or a couple times a day, it’s probably a maintenance medication.
Maintenance medications can help people control and improve their health when used regularly. However, missing even one dose of these types of drugs can mean serious health problems. That’s why it’s so important that people using these medications get refills when they need them. Home delivery eliminates the need to visit a retail pharmacy, which decreases the chances a prescription will go unfilled or be missed.
Second, a simple, no-cost switch from retail pharmacy to home delivery can save your employees time and money and help control health care costs for your business.
When implemented properly, home delivery programs have resulted in:
- Improved medication adherence When employees get their medicine delivered to their homes, they’re as much as 19 percent more likely to take that medicine as prescribed, according to a report published in the American Journal of Managed Care. This leads to better health outcomes and fewer doctor and hospital visits.
- Lower costs – Compared to retail pharmacies, the home delivery pharmacy saves you money as a lower-cost channel. Home delivery pharmacy programs direct members away from higher-priced, brand-name drugs to safe and effective generic and lower-tier drugs.
- Bigger savings – Depending on your company’s health plan, employees may be able to save on drug copays with home delivery. Many 90-day supplies cost less when using the home delivery pharmacy.
- Increased convenience – With home delivery, medications are sent to the employee’s home using free standard shipping. Plus, refills can easily be ordered online.
- Greater safety – According to pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, a home delivery pharmacy has a 99.99 percent accuracy rate.
Better Health Starts With Convenience, Education
Business owners interested in having employees use a mail-order pharmacy should look for plans that make the transition from retail to home delivery nearly seamless. In the case of a home delivery pharmacy service, it’s important to stress to your employees that it’s not meant to replace the occasional trip to a retail pharmacy for a one-time or urgently needed prescription, but rather to save them time and make it easier to keep up with ongoing medications. Knowing this distinction often gives parents and caregivers much-needed peace of mind and improves their acceptance of the program.
For some, home delivery of pharmaceutical drugs may always sound a bit odd. However, for employees already getting diapers, produce, books, clothes and electronics delivered to their door, the concept isn’t foreign at all.
As President and General Manager of Anthem BCBS in the Wisconsin market, Paul Nobile is dedicated to working with providers, employers and brokers to bring health care solutions to the local market. He is a 20-year veteran of the insurance industry with much of that time spent in Sales and Account Management leadership roles.