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Home delivery pharmacy: What’s in it for you?

Nowadays, just about everything can be delivered right to your door. From chef-prepared meals and designer clothes to groceries and personal care products, there is no shortage of companies competing to provide exactly what you need, often in two days or less.

Many of these services – like online retail shopping – have become household staples. Others tend to fly a bit more under the radar. One growing, but still lesser-known modern convenience is the home delivery of prescription drugs.

Depending on your how your health plan is structured you may be required – or at least strongly encouraged – to use a home delivery pharmacy service. Often this prompts the question, “what difference does it make where I get my prescriptions?”

In short, a lot.

Better adherence, lower cost

It’s important to understand that home delivery is best used for maintenance medications. These are drugs that treat long-term, chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. If you’ve got a prescription you take every night before bed or a couple of times a day, it’s probably a maintenance medication.

Maintenance medications can help people maintain and improve their health when used regularly. However, missing even one dose of these types of drugs can mean serious health problems. That’s why it’s so important that people using these medications get refills when and where they need them. Home delivery eliminates the need to visit a retail pharmacy, which in turn decreases the chances a prescription will go unfilled or be missed.

Second, a simple, no-cost switch from retail pharmacy to home delivery can not only save your employees time and money, but also help control health care costs for the your business.

When implemented properly, home delivery programs have resulted in:

  • Improved medication adherence. When employees get their medicine delivered to their homes, they’re up to 19% more likely to take that medicine as prescribed. This leads to better health outcomes and fewer doctor and hospital visits.
  • Lower costs. Compared to retail pharmacies, the home delivery pharmacy saves you money as a lower-cost channel. Home delivery pharmacy programs direct members away from higher-priced, brand-name drugs to safe, effective generic and lower-tier drugs.
  • Bigger savings. Depending on your company’s health plan, employees may be able to save on drug copays with home delivery. Many 90-day supplies cost less when using the home delivery pharmacy.
  • Increased convenience. With home delivery, medications (up to a 90-day supply) are sent to the employee’s home using free standard shipping. Plus, refills can easily be ordered online.
  • Greater safety. According to pharmacy benefits manager, Express Scripts, home delivery pharmacy has a 99.99% accuracy rate, compared to a 98.3% accuracy rate at retail pharmacies.

Better health starts with convenience, education

Business owners who want to encourage their employees to use a mail-order pharmacy should look for plans and programs that make the transition from retail to home delivery nearly seamless.

For example, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Home Delivery Complete program contacts members by phone and mail when they fill their prescription at a retail location to tell them more about the home delivery program and its benefits. Members can choose to talk with an Anthem associate to learn how much they can save by using the home delivery pharmacy. Anthem can also work with them over the phone to start the transfer of their prescription.

As with any benefits change, communicating why you are encouraging something new is essential.

In the case of home delivery pharmacy, it’s important to stress to your employees that it’s not meant to replace the occasional trip to a retail pharmacy for a one-time or urgently needed prescription, but rather to save them time and make it easier to keep up with ongoing medications. Knowing this distinction often gives parents and caregivers much-needed peace of mind and improves their acceptance of the program.

For some, home delivery of pharmaceutical drugs may always sound a bit odd. However, for those of your employees already getting diapers, produce, books, clothes and electronics delivered to their door, the concept isn’t foreign at all.

To learn more about home delivery pharmacy options and how to improve medication adherence, talk to your insurance broker or visit Anthem’s specialty benefits website.

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Nobile is a 20-year veteran of the insurance industry whose experience includes time with Rush Prudential Health Plans, Aetna, and United Healthcare. Prior to joining Anthem, Nobile served as the Director of Sales and Account Management for the Midwest region at UniCare, a health benefits company based in Chicago and owned by Anthem’s parent company and also ran UniCare’s Eastern Region with offices.

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