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Should Seniors Buy Prescriptions from Amazon?

Posted by Paul Rose on 12/3/20 12:49 PM

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Amazon may have started as an online bookstore, but has expanded way beyond that allowing consumers to buy everything from electronics and furniture to clothes and groceries through the online retail giant.

Their latest offering, Amazon Pharmacy, provides a way for customers to complete an entire pharmacy transaction on their desktop or mobile device through the Amazon App.

This could be a gamechanger for seniors and Medicare beneficiaries.

Mail Order Pharmacies and Seniors

Mail order pharmacies have emerged as a convenient way for people to get their prescription medicines. People who take the same prescriptions regularly can get refills without having to go to the pharmacy and wait in line. The delivery method can be especially useful for people who have mobility or transportation issues. To top it all off, mail order pharmacies may offer lower prices than other pharmacies.

Seniors may be especially interested in these advantages. Research has found that the average senior takes four prescriptions. Many seniors live on fixed incomes and struggle to pay for their prescriptions. According to Healthline, research has shown that 7% of seniors reported skipping medicine during the last 24 months due to cost. For seniors who have stopped driving or who have mobility issues, the benefits of mail order pharmacies are even greater.

Medicare Enrollees and Amazon Pharmacy

Amazon Pharmacy provides another delivery option. Amazon says it works with most insurance plans and provides both brand-name and common generic options. Patients can have their prescriber send Amazon the prescription information, or they can ask Amazon to contact the prescriber. Patients will also be required to fill out a profile.

As with other Amazon services, Amazon Prime members will receive extra benefits, including free two-day delivery. People can also use their Prime membership to get up to 80% off generic prescriptions and 40% off brand-name prescriptions, but this discount cannot be combined with insurance. Consumers will be provided the cost options, including the copay with insurance and the cash price without insurance, before checking out.

The Pill Pack Option

When you have a lot of prescription medicines – as many seniors do – remembering when to take each pill can be tricky. Bringing the required pills when going out or traveling can also be challenging. Amazon Pharmacy offers a solution with its Pill Pack option.

Instead of putting pills into the familiar bottles, the Pill Pack option sorts them into little packets. Each packet is labeled with the date and time the contents should be taken, as well as a list of the pills inside, including the medicine name and dose. One packet may contain multiple pills if different medications should be taken together. In addition to prescription drugs, the packets can include over-the-counter medications and vitamins.

Will Amazon Pharmacy Take Off?

So far, you may be thinking this sounds pretty good. However, individual costs will vary based on the person’s individual plan, so it may not be the cheapest option for everyone. Additionally, Business Insider has brought up potential data privacy concerns that some people might have with giving a giant tech company all of their personal medical information.

This is why having a local insurance advisor specializing in Medicare is so important.  Stay connected to Medicare.gov, your enrollment platforms, local carrier training and all the key Rx discount plans in your area.

Topics: Amazon, seniors buy prescriptions from Amazon

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