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remoandiris

Anyone changed prescriptions from Express Scripts to Walmart?

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If so, was it a PITA or easy to do?  I've used Express Scripts for years with few problems until now.  Express has shortages of certain meds and the delivery delays are impacting my travel plans.  So I'm looking at making a change.

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No reason to delay. We just have ES mail them to a small USPS along the way. About 6-8 weeks before we travel we request vacation refills so that if there is a delay it does not impact us. We once tried to use Walmart and had to wait in line for 45 minutes. I'll stick to mail order. On their website you can also pick up your RX at Walgreen or CVS(not sure which). I did not research that option.

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We have used wall mart for many  years primarily because they are everywhere across the country. We do all refills on line and have very good prescription coverage . We have not had a problem .We do have to remember where we are and to change the pharmacy address so it gets to the right place. We ordered a refill Monday at our local wall mart and picked it up Tuesday .We have our Doctor do 90 day refills with 3 refills.  

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All pharmacies are struggling to maintain inventory, not just Express Scripts. If this is the only reason for switching, be prepared to be disappointed.

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We find a major benefit of ES is the ability to do "vacation" refills. We are able to order refills weeks before their std refill date. We have found Walmart and others are not so accommodating.

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My hometown pharmacy is a Walgreens.  While traveling, I sometimes run into a state or part of a state that doesn't have one, but has a CVS, Rite-Aid, and, of course, a Walmart or non chain pharmacy.  I don't usually use Walmarts, but rather than transferring a prescription from Walgreens if there isn't one near me, I just have my doctor phone in a new one to the local drugstore.  It takes less time than a transfer, and even works for non chain pharmacies that you may find in smaller towns.  Since I have "memberships" at CVS, Walgreens & Rite-Aid, I've run into a few that don't require a transfer from the previous pharmacist even if I haven't used them for close to a year.  The new prescription from my doctor usually takes a couple of hours, far less time than a transfer.

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I use Walmart having been involuntarily switched from PrimeMail. They are much slower, even in normal times to fill orders. Often takes a week or so to get a refrigerated order while Prime Mail would get it to you in a couple of days. And they do not show prices when you order, they are unknown until you get the invoice in your shipment.

In my case the decision was made by my insurance company, I had no say in it. And you may be in the same boat so check with your insurer. Having Walmart stores locally  has nothing to do with mail delivery unless I'm missing something.

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3 hours ago, Darryl&Rita said:

All pharmacies are struggling to maintain inventory, not just Express Scripts. If this is the only reason for switching, be prepared to be disappointed.

Why would pharmacies have shortages?  Unless more people are using blood pressure meds during the COVID-19 time. 😀  We haven't experienced shortages.

As to changing the pharmacy, doesn't the insurance dictate who you can use?  If you do a comparison there are different prices depending on who you use.  Express Scripts is more expensive for us than WalMart.  We don't have an Advantage Plan, if that makes a difference.  Do price comparisons before switching.

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Quote

Huge amount of meds now come from China.

A very big problem and one tht the administration is trying to fix. The fix won't be fast tho.

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1 hour ago, 2gypsies said:

As to changing the pharmacy, doesn't the insurance dictate who you can use?  If you do a comparison there are different prices depending on who you use.  Express Scripts is more expensive for us than WalMart.  We don't have an Advantage Plan, if that makes a difference.  Do price comparisons before switching.

Many Part D plans have "preferred pharmacies".  When you use those the price is the same regardless of which one you go to.  We use Walgreens with our AARP United Health Part D plans.

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3 hours ago, docj said:

Many Part D plans have "preferred pharmacies".  When you use those the price is the same regardless of which one you go to.  We use Walgreens with our AARP United Health Part D plans.

Correct - if you use preferred pharmacies within your plan.  You can't just pick a place you want if you want the best price.  Regardless, Express Scripts was more expensive with our plan than WalMart - for the meds we use.  It depends on the meds, also.  

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25 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

Regardless, Express Scripts was more expensive with our plan than WalMart - for the meds we use.  It depends on the meds, also.  

I use an online analysis tool to determine which plan is best for us each year.  The tool allows me to select a pharmacy and then compare annual costs with this as fixed.  I like working with Walgreens; I prefer Walgreens to Walmart and won't change even if one is slightly more or less than the other.  And, having lived with mail delivery before,  I won't ever go use that again.

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I also prefer Walgreens to Walmart but we used Walmart when we fulltiming because it was easier to find one of those nearby even though they provided more of a hassle than Walgreens did. (When I forgot to pack one of my meds, a Walgreens far from home just looked it up on their computer and filled it for me while I was still at their counter without transferring the prescription.) Now that we are off the road we use CVS at Target because that's where we buy our groceries so it doesn't require an extra stop.

Linda

 

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6 hours ago, docj said:

I use an online analysis tool to determine which plan is best for us each year.  The tool allows me to select a pharmacy and then compare annual costs with this as fixed.  I like working with Walgreens; I prefer Walgreens to Walmart and won't change even if one is slightly more or less than the other.  And, having lived with mail delivery before,  I won't ever go use that again.

Yes, we use the online tool, also.  Our issue is one particular drug which can range from $600 down to our present, $30.  That's what drives us to the best place for us.

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We used Express Scrips for years with good service and no complaints. The health care plan provided by my previous employer required that maintenance prescriptions be filled by them as they had some sort of contract. Since the ACA forced my employer to change coverages, we are now on a plan purchased through the Medicare part D list and now have CVS/Caremark and we now pick them up directly from CVS. Service has been good at most CVS stores and is outstanding at some that we have used but it does vary quite a lot. 

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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Service has been good at most CVS stores and is outstanding at some that we have used but it does vary quite a lot. 

I never would have thought about a particular CVS or Walgreens store as being "good" or "bad" until our local Walgreens had a change of pharmacist about a year ago. The young pharmacist who had been running it was exceptionally knowledgeable of things such as obscure Medicare rules and she got promoted to a larger store in a bigger city.  Her replacement may or may not have the same level of knowledge as she did, but he's clearly not as good a manager.  The pharmacy staff has become sloppy; prescriptions are "lost" because they've been put in the wrong bin;  twice last month they tried to give me a Rx item that wasn't mine. 

Until this experience I never really thought about a pharmacy as a "business" with customer service issues, etc.  But it is and the quality of the people and their training does matter.

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We've had good luck with CVS for the past several years after a few bad experiences with Walmart. The addition of the Target locations made them even more accessible in our travels...

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35 minutes ago, agesilaus said:

Are youi people talking about mail pharmacies or just going to a local drug store?

I can't speak for anyone else, but we go to local drug stores.  Like Kirk, for a couple of years in the early days of our full-timing we had to use Express Script's mail service because my former employer's insurance dictated it.  We abandoned it as soon as we were able to.  Mail refills of refrigerated scripts were especially problematic.

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Our insurance makes Express Scripts the preferred one for us to use and it is cheaper than using local.  But for some things, like refrigerated (Lantus) meds or short term we do use Walgreens.   I do not find local drug stores fascinating but will use them as necessary.   We've been using Express Scripts since 2001, so to us the is just the way we get our meds.   

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Well my insurance gives us a bonus for using mail pharmacies. Buy from their preferred one of those and we get one month free for a 3 month order. You may want to check your policy for something like that. I assumed that the OP question about Expresscipt was about mail in not walk in.

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1 hour ago, agesilaus said:

Buy from their preferred one of those and we get one month free for a 3 month order.

Our generic scripts are already so inexpensive that this wouldn't be much of an inducement and it, no doubt, doesn't apply to the couple of expensive name brand Rx that dominate our yearly costs. 

We both have a group of cheap Rx that cost practically nothing even when we are in the "coverage gap."  And we both have a couple of expensive Rx that amount to ~90% of our annual costs,  A third of those are refrigerated and too much of a nuisance to ship.

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My prescriptions are low cost generics, but my wife's prescriptions include some very expensive inhalers and eye drops that could be a bit painful when she hits the "donut hole" where she has minimal insurance coverage. To offset the costs, NY offers free secondary insurance for seniors that limits her co-pays to a $20 maximum when the scripts are obtained from a NY pharmacy. Since we use a NY mail forwarder, it's easy for us to have a local CVS mail the meds to our forwarder to send on to us where ever we are.

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