I used to fill prescriptions for a family who would literally drive across town to fill their prescriptions at my pharmacy. On their 20-mile round-trip journey, they would drive past five other pharmacies that could have filled their prescriptions. Why would they drive so far out of their way for medications when they could conveniently drive a few blocks? One day I asked them. They liked us. They liked the service. They liked getting their medications at one pharmacy. They trusted the pharmacists. Convenience was not a priority when it came to their health. The pharmacy they picked mattered to them, and they’re right. The pharmacy you pick matters, but it matters to each of us for a different reason.

Are you using insurance?

If you plan to use your pharmacy benefit to help cover the cost of your prescriptions, the first thing to consider is whether or not your insurance is accepted at that pharmacy. Luckily BCBSKS’ pharmacy benefit manager, Prime Therapeutics, has created an expansive pharmacy network. This network should offer you alternatives anywhere within the United States. Are you curious to know your options? Log on to myprime.com to search for pharmacies that will accept your prescription benefit.

What’s convenient?

For many of us, pharmacy location determines where we go. We see what pharmacies are closest, and we pick the one we like best. There is nothing wrong with this method as long as it fits your needs. If you feel like there is a problem every time you go to a certain pharmacy, try another pharmacy. Even if you don’t fill a prescription, ask the pharmacist or staff a question. You’ll get a feel for if you want to fill your prescriptions there. Maybe the most convenient pharmacy leaves you frustrated, but one a few blocks out of the way makes you feel at home.

What’s the best value?

This question is more difficult to answer because it depends on each person’s benefit. For our BCBSKS members, we have a variety of benefits ranging from retail to mail order benefits, and the cost share for each of our members varies across these different benefits. The best source for our members to research this information is to log in to their BlueAccess® profile to access their benefit information and search for the most cost-effective option. Remember that drug pricing can change over time and the price of medications is always changing, so deciding where to go for every drug based on price might leave your head spinning. If you need help understanding your prescription benefit, contact your insurance carrier, and they should easily be able to walk you through your benefits.

What’s the best choice?

At the end of the day, the best option is to look at your choices up front and try to stick with one pharmacy to meet all of your needs. Find a pharmacy where you trust the staff. Find a pharmacy where the pharmacist takes time to answer your questions. While you may save some money by filling some medications here or there, remember that a pharmacist can not catch any drug interactions if they don’t know what medications you are taking. You might prevent a drug interaction by getting your medications at one pharmacy. While I understand that one pharmacy may not be an option for some, a chat with your pharmacist about your drugs can help prevent drug interactions too. Lastly, find a pharmacy that you like. I always enjoyed when a customer told us how much they liked coming to our pharmacy. Hopefully you already have one that you like, but if you don’t, I hope you can find one. The choice is yours!

Tiffany Liesmann, BCBSKS staff pharmacist

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