Early prescription refills may be difficult to obtain, cost extra

Published: July 2, 2021 4:48 PM EDT
Updated: July 3, 2021 9:41 AM EDT
cypress pharmacy pickup
Credit: WINK News

With Hurricane Elsa approaching, now could be a good time to get your prescriptions filled. But it may not be a very simple process.

Those prescriptions could cost you and you may not even be able to get them filled.

Preparing sooner rather than later is the way to go, with Hurricane Elsa on its way. At Cypress Pharmacy, Pharmacist TJ DePaola says there is no rush of clients so far hoping to get their medications ahead of the storm.

“The insurance companies haven’t put the provisions in to fill early yet. That’s usually as the storm gets a little bit closer,” DePaola said.

Without insurance companies authorizing those early refills, people could be stuck footing the bill themselves.

Athos CEO Jon Hess says there are ways around paying full price if you want that peace of mind.

“If the insurance won’t cover it, there’s a couple things you can do there, you can ask for emergency fill from the pharmacy – usually like five, seven days,” said Hess.

Other money-saving options could be Good RX or RX Solutions.

“That allows you to get it for a pretty cheap price – probably as cheap or cheaper than you get through insurance. The only downside is it doesn’t go through your deductible or your out-of-pocket max,” Hess said.

However, you can’t buy what pharmacies don’t have. And, thanks to the pandemic and the holiday weekend, if your medication isn’t in stock right now, it may not arrive until after the storm passes.

“You get as much on hand as you can. The current problem right now is with COVID, there’s limited supplies. So you stock up as best as you can based on what the warehouse has available from the manufacturer,” said DePaola.

“If we don’t have it on hand when they come in, we can usually get it next business day. The problem this year is unfortunately, it’s a holiday weekend, so the wholesalers won’t be delivering Monday,” he said. “So right now we’re not getting another delivery till Tuesday. And if the storm’s coming Tuesday, that means not going to be till after the storm hits.”

If you have concerns about your medications, Lee Health’s Emergency Management System coordinator says to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Greg Fisher is Lee Health’s Emergency Management Coordinator.  “If you have a medication that you’re concerned about, call your pharmacy, call your physician and inquire about – ‘what does their cache look like?’ ‘And their supplies?'” said Fisher.

Experts also say to keep an eye out for a disaster declaration from Governor DeSantis. If that happens, anyone with a prescription can get a 30-day supply of their medication.

For anyone with TriCare, they authorized temporary refill waivers within the last 30 minutes.