How Early Will Walgreens Refill A Prescription
It’s been more than two years since I was hit with an unexpected medical bill. I had no idea that my health insurance policy didn’t cover emergency room visits until it was too late. When I finally got around to calling them up, they were happy to tell me that all of my copayments/deductibles had been paid for in advance. However, when I went to pick up my prescription at the pharmacy counter, I found out that there was a problem — they wouldn’t be able to fill it because I hadn’t yet provided proof of insurace.
I was lucky enough to eventually get reimbursed for this expensive mistake, but not everyone is so fortunate. If you’ve ever needed to visit an urgent care clinic, chances are good that you’ll run into similar issues. After all, many states require insurance companies to pay first-dollar coverage for services received from non-traditional facilities like those offering walk-in clinics. But, if you’re one of the unlucky ones who end up paying full price for prescriptions, you may want to consider using stores like Walgreens instead. They can legally refill prescriptions for Schedule III and IV drugs as early as three days after receiving written notice from your doctor. This means that you could receive a refilled script even faster than what you’d normally expect from pharmacies.
The same goes for controlled substances like opiates, which aren’t covered under most policies. In these cases, you’ll need to provide a new prescription for each refill. You can also request a copy of a patient’s drug history during check-out. Pharmacists should then be able to determine whether any refills would fall outside of limits defined by your healthcare or insurance provider.
A spokesperson for Walgreens told us via email, “We work closely with our pharmacists and doctors on a case-by-case basis to ensure we remain within the parameters set forth by the physician treating the patient.” So far, the company has only released statistics regarding how long it takes to deliver refills, rather than specific figures about how many patients actually use their service. As such, it remains unclear how much time it generally takes for a pharmacist to review a prescription and issue a replacement.
In addition to being more affordable than other retail options (like CVS), Walgreens is known for its friendly customer service staff. The company recently announced plans to offer free delivery to customers in certain locations across the country. And just last year, the company began rolling out home pickup services in select areas. If you live near a store, it may make sense to go ahead and order everything online before heading over — especially if you find yourself needing to pick something up quickly. It might take longer to process orders through websites, but you won’t have to wait in line at the front desk or worry about forgetting anything.
If you do decide to give Walgreens’ service a try, here are some general guidelines you should follow to ensure optimal results on both ends of the deal:
Be sure to bring multiple copies of your prescription. That way, you can compare prices between different retailers. If you happen to shop at a location where Walgreens doesn’t accept mail-order scripts, you might want to ask someone else if they can fax or hand-deliver yours to another pharmacy nearby.
Make sure you know exactly which medications you currently take. Pharmacy benefit managers often use information like this to help them weed out fraudulent claims.
Bring along photo ID. Your driver’s license works well for this purpose.
Don’t feel pressured to buy things from the cash register. If you’re unsure about the quality of a product, ask a manager to show you samples. Or, you can always call your doctor to see what he or she recommends.
When in doubt, contact a pharmacist directly. If you don’t understand why a medication is prescribed, or you think it may interact badly with another substance you already take, you should consult a pharmacist immediately.
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