I Have a New Prescription: What Do I Need to Know?

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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These days, doctor’s offices have several ways to get your prescription from their office to your preferred pharmacy. Prescriptions can be called in over the phone by authorized personnel at your doctor’s office, handwritten and given to you by your doctor to bring to the pharmacy, sent via fax, or submitted electronically via computer. With so many ways for prescriptions to be sent to the pharmacy, it’s no wonder that when you stop in to your pharmacy, sometimes your prescription may not be ready.

Here are 3 ways to help out your pharmacy and decrease the amount of time to get your new prescription ready:

1.  Make sure all of your contact information is up-to-date

This is very important, and I can tell you 8 out of 10 times most patients’ information is NOT correct or up-to-date. By making sure that all of your information (name, date of birth, phone number, and address) is clear, concise, and current, you allow the pharmacy to ensure that they are filling your prescription for the correct patient, and that if there are any issues with your prescription they will be able to get in touch with you.

2.  Make sure all of your insurance information is up-to-date

Making sure that your insurance information is up-to-date is a very important step for the pharmacy when it comes to filling your prescription. If your insurance has expired, your pharmacy may do either of the following:

Put your prescription on file and not fill it.  If your prescription is ‘put on file’ that means that the medication was not counted out or essentially “filled” for you yet. Once you present your new insurance information, the pharmacy will have to process and fill the medication. This seems simple; however, it may take some time depending on how busy the pharmacy is, and there could be a delay in getting your new prescription.

Process your prescription and fill for the cash (or uninsured price). If your prescription was processed and filled for the cash (or uninsured price), that means that it should be ready for you at the pharmacy. Once you present your new insurance card, the pharmacy will be able to re-bill it and have you on your way as long as there are no billing issues with your insurance.

Some billing issues that the pharmacy could run into with your insurance may include:

Unfortunately, both processes can pose problems and may lead to increased wait times for your prescription—that’s why it’s important to always make sure your insurance information on file is correct and up-to-date.

If you don’t have insurance or if you run into a billing issue, this is where you may want to look for a discounted cash price. Issues like prior authorization and max day supplies are limitations put in place by your insurance company, and if you pay cash or use a discount, you don’t need to worry about them.

3.  Call the pharmacy before coming in to pick up your prescription

Calling the pharmacy before physically going there can be very helpful and could even save you an unnecessary trip. In case your pharmacy hasn’t been able to reach you about any of these issues, calling ahead will let you know before you go in whether:

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