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Your Medication – Take As Directed
One of the most important things you can do to protect your health is to take your medications as directed by your health care provider. This is called medication adherence.
Not taking your medication as directed includes:
- Not filling a new prescription,
- Not picking up your medicine at the pharmacy,
- Not refilling an existing prescription when you should,
- Not taking medicine as you should (including skipping or stopping doses),
- Taking more or less of a prescribed medicine, and
- Taking medicine at the wrong time.
Follow this link for a brief video about the importance of medication adherence.
Having trouble taking your medication as directed?
If you have trouble taking your medication as directed, determine the reason(s) why. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist if you have any questions about your medication. He or she will help you find solutions.
If you are an Excellus BlueCross BlueShield member, you can ask our licensed, clinical pharmacists questions about your medications through our Ask the Pharmacist online tool.
I Forget to Take My Medication
If you forget to take your medication, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless your health care provider tells you otherwise. If it is almost time for the next dose of medication, do not take the missed dose and continue on your regular medication schedule. Never double the dose to make up for a missed dose.
Simple ways to help you remember to take your medicine
- Take your medications at the same time every day.
- Plan ahead for changes in your daily routine.
- Use a seven-day pillbox. Once a week, fill the pillbox with your medications for the entire week.
- Set an alarm clock or use a cellphone alarm as a reminder.
- If you have a smartphone or computer, download reminder applications (apps).
- Keep a medication diary. Write down the name of your medication, dose, number of pills to take, and when to take them.
- Keep all medical and lab appointments and add them to your medication diary or your smartphone or computer app.
- Use a home delivery pharmacy, which allows for easy, convenient refills. Your medication is delivered to your door, and you’ll receive reordering reminders.
I Don't Like the Side Effects
Many people find it difficult to take medications as directed because of medication side effects. Some side effects are manageable, but others are more severe.
If you experience troublesome side effects, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about options.
If you are an Excellus BlueCross BlueShield member, take advantage of our Ask the Pharmacist online tool to get answers to your medication-related questions and concerns. Your questions are answered by a licensed, clinical pharmacist.
You may require a reduced dosage or a change in medication or treatment plan. Your health care provider may adjust your medications if you have difficulty taking them, or may discuss ways to help you manage side effects.
If you take several different medications and over-the-counter drugs, it's important to let your health care provider or pharmacist know if you experience uncomfortable side effects.
My Medication is Too Expensive
Some people don't take their medicine as directed because the cost of the medicine is too high.
The demand for prescription drugs continues to rise. Prescription drugs account for 10% of all national health care spending and that number is expected to accelerate over the next several years due to a few main factors, including utilization. More prescription drugs are being prescribed than ever before and with all of the generics and lower-cost options available, you may be able to help control some of these costs.
These costs affect everyone - whether or not you're currently taking a prescription drug. Here are some simple steps you can take to help you and your community save money.
Simple steps to consider
- Consider a 90 day supply. Ask your doctor for a prescription for a 90 day supply of your medication and choose to fill it at a local pharmacy or through home delivery. In 2020, for most plans, you pay 1 copayment for a 30 day supply and 2 copayments for a 90 day supply.
- Vaccines at the Pharmacy. Medicare Part D covers the majority of vaccines. Medicare Part D covers most vaccines. Select vaccines are Tier 1 including the shingles vaccine, Shingrix®.
- Try a low cost alternative. There may be a number of less expensive, but equally safe and effective drugs, to treat your condition. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about available options and determine if a less expensive drug is worth a try.
- Help is Available. You may qualify for State and Federal programs that help you pay for prescriptions. Learn more about how the NYS EPIC Program can work with your Medicare plan to help you save money on your prescriptions. Or contact your Social Security office at 1-800-772-1213, between 7 am to 7 pm, Monday through Friday to determine if you qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help program.
- Over-the-Counter Drugs. These are medications available without a prescription. Antihistamines, pain relievers and heartburn medications can often be purchased over the counter for less than your prescription co-payment.
- Free Medication Review. With your Medicare plan, you are eligible to have all of your medications reviewed personally with a pharmacist at no charge. During this complete review, our pharmacists can answer any questions you might have and may possibly be able to help you find ways to save money on your future prescriptions. Medication reviews are conveniently performed over the telephone. Contact our health plan's pharmacist today at 1-888-991-1527 for your free review.
- Fewer Tablets Per Day. Ask your health care provider if a higher dose of one tablet would work in place of taking two lower-dose tablets, which could save you up to 50 percent of the prescription cost.
It's Inconvenient to Get My Prescriptions Refilled
Consider the convenience of filling your prescriptions by phone or online and having them delivered to your home through a home delivery pharmacy. This will save you the time, trouble and expense of going to the drug store. Your prescriptions will be delivered to the address of your choice — safely, discreetly and on time.
If you take long-term prescriptions, purchasing them through a mail-order pharmacy can reduce your prescription costs. Getting a 90-day supply of your prescriptions can save you money and time, compared to getting a 30-day supply at a retail pharmacy. There's no charge for standard shipping.
Our home delivery pharmacy will get your prescription directly from your health care provider. It will send you shipping notifications and refill reminders by email or phone. You can even track the status of your prescriptions online.
I Don't Need to Take My Medication
Not taking your medicine as directed can be bad for your health. It can rob you of a long and full life. More than one in three medicine-related hospitalizations occurs because the patient did not take his/her medicine as directed. Close to 125,000 people die every year because they did not take their medicine as directed. Not taking your medicine as directed can also lead to other health problems, especially if you already have asthma, diabetes, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease or high blood pressure.
Resources to help you manage your medical condition:
If you’re an Excellus BlueCross BlueShield member:
- Send your medication-related questions and concerns to our clinical pharmacy team by using our Excellus BlueCross BlueShield member, take advantage of our Ask the Pharmacist online tool.
- Access our free Member Care Management program. Our team of medical professionals can assist you in managing and understanding your medical condition. For more information about this program, call: 1-800-860-2619 (TTY/TDD 1-800-662-1220) Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Questions about your prescription drug benefit: Call Customer Care at 1-800-499-2838 (TTY/TDD 1-800-662-1220) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. From October 1 to March 31, representatives are available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.