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How to prep to have excess of your medications...
#1
Having worked in the healthcare business a while back I thought I would let you guys in on a little "secret", most people don't know about. If you're taking medication for a chronic condition like I do, you may want to have a little extra if there might be a bump in the supply chain sometime in the future. (Medications can have major shortages without there even being unrest or a societal collapse, it happens all the time and its freaking scary for some people)

Most people don't know this, but *most* insurance companies will pay for your medications exactly 25 days since your last refill, not 30 like most people think. This is to account for people who lose pills and stuff like that. If you were to pick up your prescriptions every 25 days on the nose, by the end of the year you should theoretically have 60 days worth banked up.

This is why it's important to read exactly what it says on your bottle:

Here's another one, what the doctor has ordered on the bottle is very important. Say for example you take a drug 4 times a day. The doctors can write this 2 ways. They might say something like "take 1 pill by mouth every 4-6 hours" or they might say, "take 1 pill by mouth 4 times daily".

Now, if what is written on your bottle is the former 4-6 hours. Generally your insurance plan will green light your refill after a number of hours. So for example lets say you have a month's supply at 120 pills per month made to be taken every 4 to 6 hours, theoretically unless the insert for the medication states this would be dangerous you could, again, theoretically take up to 6 per day if you took one every 4 hours over a 24 hour period. So this means if your prescription is written the hourly way, you could theoretically have 120 divided by 6 per day and have taken all the pills after 20 days. When the scrip is written this way often times insurance will cover your refill after 20 days instead of 25 or 30.

Another way is many insurance plans try to get patients to save money by forcing them to order a 90 day supply at a time. Next time you are in your doctors office, tell them you may be switching insurance plans soon and that you would like your doctor to write you a 90 day supply, usually they will do this without blinking an eye. If you can do this and a shortage hits right after you've picked up your 90 day supply you're golden otherwise you'd be no better off than picking up every month as usual. Don't do this with narcotics. Most pharmacists don't like filling huge prescriptions for narcotics and most likely will reject you rather than risk their license or a visit from Mr. Black Sunglasses DEA agent. Most narcotics by law are not allowed to have refills anyway and require a new prescription every time.

Now there are some caveats,

1) If you do this more than once or twice with narcotics don't be surprised if your pharmacist or doctor suddenly wants to treat you like a crack addict. My advice is, never attempt this with narcotics, its not illegal as far as I know in most states as long as you have a valid prescription, but you don't want that sort of thing end up on your medical records if word ever got back to your doctor (very unlikely, but possible). The people behind your local pharmacy counter have literally heard every excuse you have in the book including the ever classic, "my dog ate them"...seriously, I heard that one personally. Unless you bring them a bottle of waterlogged pills or whatever they're not going to believe any story you give them at all if your record shows, you've made a habit of picking narcotics up early. If you do it with your other non-narcotic medicines the pharmacist generally won't really care one way or the other since the store will make more money the more often you refill, but they will probably ask what is going on after they see the pattern. DO NOT LIE if asked, tell them the truth you are holding some back in case of a shortage.

2) DO NOT TAKE THIS AS LICENSE TO SELF MEDICATE BEYOND WHAT YOUR DOCTOR HAS ORDERED! Take all your prescriptions as prescribed if you want to make any deviations consult your doctor!

3) Laws regarding prescriptions from state to state can vary wildly like gun laws. What is true for one state may not be true for another. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH! I've just outlined how the insurance system works IN GENERAL! Your insurance plan may have its own different rules beyond what the state says.

4) I have provided this information to help people in their preparing for supply issues regarding medications ONLY. I am not a doctor and am not giving you medical advice, if you want extra try asking your doctor first, leave this is an option only after your others have been exhausted.

5) Obey expiration dates, this goes double for any liquid, or non-solid form medications.

Make of this information what you will. I'm not advocating you do this, just describing how the system works.
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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#2
Quote:Most people don't know this, but *most* insurance companies will pay for your medications exactly 25 days since your last refill, not 30 like most people think. This is to account for people who lose pills and stuff like that. If you were to pick up your prescriptions every 25 days on the nose, by the end of the year you should theoretically have 60 days worth banked up.

I've been doing this for years, I work a seasonal job, my insurance lapses during the winter lay-off, getting my scripts filled on the day they become available I make it through the winter until my insurance picks back up in the spring.
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#3
Thank you for this nugget of information. My son it taking Singulair daily. I was ready to fork over the coin if necessary for a couple of months worrh. I'll go this route instead.
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#4
Just a note:

If I remember correctly, the days supply for inhalers works in a similar way as the hourly calculation I pointed out above. You can account for the number of puffs per day accounting for the number of hours between doses and the total number of puffs per inhaler. I think the number of puffs per unit is written on the side of the box the inhaler comes in somewhere, but my memory of exactly where is a little fuzzy it may have changed since I left the trade.
The forum poster formerly known as Emoticon...
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