3 Simple Tips To Avoid a Delayed Prescription – According to a Pharmacist

Here are three ways you can help your pharmacy speed up how long it takes to get your prescription ready.  



1) Make sure your contact information is up to date.

This is very important. Eight of of 10 times, patient information is not correct or up to date. By checking that all of your contact information (name, date of birth, phone number and address) is accurate and current, you help your pharmacy ensure they are filling the right prescription for you. And, if there are any issues with your prescription, they’ll be able to get in touch with you.


2) Make sure your insurance information is up to date.

If the insurance you have on record at your pharmacy is expired, you may have some trouble getting your prescription processed when you need it. Some pharmacies will still process your prescription but ask you to pay the cash price. Other pharmacies may put your prescription on file and not fill it at all.

If your prescription is placed on file, presenting your new insurance information will usually get the ball rolling again. If your prescription was filled even without active insurance information, you can pay the cash price for your medication and ask the pharmacy to re-bill the cost to your insurance once you have your new insurance card.

This should work unless your new insurance has coverage restrictions on the drug you picked up. Your insurer may use prior authorizations or quantity limits to decide whether or not to cover your prescription. Also, each insurance plan has a specific list of drugs it covers, known as a formulary. It’s possible that your drug may have been covered by your previous plan but not your new one. To get your medication regardless, you may want to look into paying with a discount instead of insurance.



3) Call the pharmacy before picking up your prescription.

Calling your pharmacy before making the trip to pick up your prescription is a good idea to see if your prescription is ready. You may discover that one of these three common issues is keeping your prescription from being filled:

  • Your medication is not in stock. Depending on how much of your medication the pharmacy has left, you may be able to get a 1- to 3-day supply while your pharmacy calls in the remaining amount. Or, your pharmacy may need to call in a new order of your medication and prepare your full prescription for next-day pick-up.
  • Your medication is not covered or has a coverage restriction. If your medication is not covered by your plan, you can either pay for the medication out of pocket, or ask your pharmacy to call your doctor for alternative medications that would be covered by your plan. Sometimes, plans restrict coverage of certain medications by requiring doctors to fill out a prior authorization form before deciding to cover a prescription. This process can take up to a week depending on how fast your doctor’s office fills out the required paperwork.
  • Your prescription is unclear or incorrect. Because doctors can sometimes make errors on prescriptions, your pharmacy may tell you they need further clarification before they are able to fill your prescription. Here are some examples of why your pharmacy may need more information from your doctor:
    • The handwriting on the prescription is illegible.
    • Information related to directions, quantity, dosing or number of refills is missing or incorrect.
    • The medication can interact with another medication you’re taking.
    • The prescription was written for a different patient.



    Remember: You can help your pharmacy fill your prescription quickly and accurately. Just follow these tips when you get your next prescription.


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