Stephanie Dwilson

How Do Mail-Order Pharmacies and Prescription Delivery Services Work?

A mail-order pharmacy’s prescription delivery service can be a true benefit to your employees. But you may need to educate them on how it works before they can take advantage of it.

Here’s what you need to know about prescription deliveries and how they can help your employees save money.

Are Mail-Order Pharmacies Covered?

Before you start promoting the benefits of mail-in pharmacies, you’ll want to make sure your health insurance includes this type of prescription benefit.

Finding pharmacy benefits is easy. Your employees can often just log in to their health insurance provider’s website to view their coverage options. Because of the cost savings, some insurance providers may even require employees to use a mail pharmacy for chronic conditions.

If you’re not sure if your insurance covers mail-order pharmacies, ask your health care agent.

How Mail-Order Pharmacies Work

With prescription delivery services, qualified medicines are mailed straight to your home, saving you a trip to the pharmacy. This service is typically offered for maintenance medications used for chronic conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes or depression. You’ll often receive 90 days’ worth of medication at once rather than having to get your prescription refilled every month.

Working in coordination with your insurer’s pharmacy benefit manager, mail-order pharmacies themselves offer many of the same services as a retail pharmacy. For example, the pharmacist can compare all your current medications to make sure there aren’t any negative drug interactions. You can talk with the pharmacist on the phone if you need to, and many mail-order pharmacies offer 24/7 access.

If your insurance provider covers this option, your employees can typically just log in to their online insurance accounts and choose to manage their prescriptions with a mail-service option. Some providers may require that you fill out a form and mail it to the pharmacy. Ask your health insurance agent for further details on how your particular service works, as it can vary from provider to provider.

The Benefits of a Mail-Order Pharmacy

Because of the convenience and cost savings they can offer, mail-order pharmacies are becoming an increasingly talked-about prescription benefit.

Being able to use a service that delivers medication to your door rather than needing to take time out of your schedule to visit the pharmacy each month can be a big plus. And you can typically set the pharmacy up to automatically refill your prescription, so that the medication is mailed to you without you having to remember to call it in.

You can also save money with mail-order pharmacies. Many offer lower prices on the prescriptions themselves because they order in bulk, and you can get three months of prescriptions at a time. If you use a mail-in pharmacy, you may enjoy a smaller copay too, as New Hampshire’s Insurance Department reports. Some plans offer free shipping, too.

Recommended:

Handling Employee Questions

Your employees may be unsure about the difference between mail-order pharmacies and online pharmacies. While a mail-order pharmacy works with your health care provider, allowing you to access their services through your health insurance plan, an online pharmacy may work differently. If your employees are just browsing online, they run the risk of stumbling upon a pharmacy that’s not located in the U.S. and doesn’t follow U.S. laws for safe medications — or one that’s simply a scam.

You can verify online pharmacies with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), which hosts a list of Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites. These online pharmacies comply with the NABP’s criteria for privacy, security and quality assurance. In addition, the NABP provides a list of safe online pharmacies, as well as a list of sites it recommends avoiding.

Once again, though, you can avoid any confusion simply by using a mail-order pharmacy through your health care provider, which provides cost-effective prescriptions covered by your insurance.

When you explain your insurer’s prescription delivery services to your employees, be sure to emphasize the fact that they don’t have to sacrifice quality of care when using a mail-order pharmacy. It’s a good reminder that with a little knowledge, savings on health care aren’t hard to find.

Stay up to date on the latest health care regulations and trends for your small business: Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.