The Best Prescription Subscription Services of 2021

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Most prescription subscription companies are less than 10 years old, but they are competing with more traditional pharmacies and making a difference in the lives of seniors. Prescription subscription services presort multiple medications into easy-open packages and deliver them to customers’ doors. Despite the prominence of such services in recent news cycles, many doctors don’t know about or recommend them, and patients remain largely unaware of their benefits.

Senior patients need to know about prescription subscription services because these services make adherence much easier. Adherence means taking medications as prescribed, on time and without missing doses or overdosing. A 2018 study from the peer-reviewed Permanente Journal estimated that an astonishing 100,000 preventable deaths and $100 billion in preventable medical costs per year are due to non-adherence. This same study also indicated that adherence rates for daily medications often fall between 50%-60% even though a minimum of 80% adherence to prescription instructions is necessary for therapeutic benefit.

Patients who are used to buying from a regular pharmacy may be worried about the cost of prescription subscription services and may not know how to tell which companies are the best. To help answer these and other questions, we’ve created this guide. In it, you’ll find information on the top companies and a detailed guide to finding and signing up for a service that meets your needs.

Prescription Subscription Services Basics

Prescription subscription services can be extremely convenient and helpful, but they don’t always operate in intuitive ways. Before you explore the top companies in the industry, review our quick guide to prescription subscription basics below.

Refills and Delivery

Refill and prescription renewal assistance is a key component of prescription subscription services. Exactly how the company provides this assistance varies.

Common forms of refill assistance include:

  • Monthly medication list reviews provided by a pharmacist to check for medication interactions and refill/renewal needs
  • Proactive outreach to doctors for renewal of expiring prescriptions
  • Proactive outreach to insurance to verify that refills and renewals are covered
  • Automated refilling of maintenance medications
  • Emails, calls, or texts to the patient to ask if a refill or renewal is desired
  • Notifications to the patient when insurance copays change

Payment and Insurance

Prescription subscription services offer their medication management, packaging, and shipping at no extra cost in most cases. Patients just pay normal medication copays, which may remain the same or change slightly. Uninsured patients can use some but not all prescription subscription companies, but their drug costs may be quite high.

Over The Counter Medications

Most companies allow you to add vitamins, supplements, antihistamines, and other over-the-counter (OTC) medication to your pill pouch. Company policies on OTC add-ons vary.

Companies will typically fall into one of these three categories when it comes to OTCs:

  • Won’t provide you with OTCs unless your doctor writes a prescription for them- even though that’s not legally necessary
  • Will fill practically any OTC you request, no prescription required
  • Will provide you with a limited list of available OTCs, of which there may only be one or two brand/cost options for your need

As-needed, Refrigerated, Non-capsule, and Urgent Medications

Prescription subscription services also handle items that can’t go into the daily pill pouch. If you need to order a medication that is taken as needed, the company can provide it in a pill bottle. Companies can usually also ship medicated creams, syrups, injectables, and inhalers. Compounded (custom-made) medications are not available from most prescription subscriptions, though. Items that need refrigeration are often shipped with a cold pack. Emergency prescriptions should be filled at a local pharmacy rather than shipped, since even expedited shipping is not 100% guaranteed to arrive on time.

How We Chose the Best Prescription Subscription Services

Direct Service

There are many medication delivery and management companies that only help patients in institutional settings such as hospitals and nursing homes. These companies aren’t accessible to most seniors, but they will show up in online searches. We removed all such companies from our list, only focusing on companies that serve consumers directly.

Presorted Daily Doses

Many consumers are familiar with online pharmacies and their advertisements for discounted medications. However, online pharmacies that deliver to your door are not all created equal. We’ve only included companies that offer a presorted option on our main list since these are the most likely to meet the needs of seniors who have complex medication regimens.

National Availability

As prescription subscription services grow in popularity, many small pharmacies are joining the market. Unfortunately, new companies typically only deliver within certain zip codes or city limits. On our list, we’ve only included companies that deliver to the majority of US states.

The 7 Best Prescription Subscription Companies of 2021

24/7 Support OTC Add-Ons Ratings Offering Presorted Medications Since App Access
PillPack Yes Prescription not necessary BBB Rating: A
BBB Stars: 1.75/5
Trustpilot Score:
Google Stars: 4.2/5
2013 Apple
CVS Multidose packs Varies by location Prescription only BBB Rating: N/A
BBB Stars: N/A
Trustpilot Score: 1.6/5
Google Stars: 2.3/5
2014 Apple and Android
DivvyDOSE  Yes Prescription not necessary BBB Rating: N/A
BBB Stars: N/A
Trustpilot Score: N/A
Google Stars: 3/5
2014 Apple
Accupac Yes Prescription not necessary BBB Rating: N/A
BBB Stars: N/A
Trustpilot Score: N/A
Google Stars: 3.8/5
2015 Apple and Android
Simple Meds No Prescription not necessary BBB Rating: A+
BBB Stars: N/A
Trustpilot Score: N/A
Google Stars: 4.3/5
2015 None
ExactCare No Prescription not necessary BBB Rating: C+
BBB Stars: 5/5
Trustpilot Score: N/A
Google Stars: 2.7/5
2009 Apple and Android
CareZone No Prescription only BBB Rating: A
BBB Stars: 2.5/5
Trustpilot Stars: N/A
Google Stars: 4.4/5
2011 Apple and Android

Note: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) assigns a letter grade to businesses and gives them a star rating. Stars come from customer reviews, but the letter grade reflects the BBB’s opinion of how respectfully and promptly the company responds to customer concerns. An “N/A” next to any of the rating categories means that there were no posted reviews or no active profile for this category.

PillPack

Best Accessories

PillPack, the most famous drug delivery service currently available, was founded in 2013 by T. J. Parker and Elliot Cohen. Parker is a second-generation pharmacist, and Cohen is a programmer with extensive experience applying technology to medicine. This startup’s pharmacy runs on proprietary technology that the founders named “Pharmacy OS.” PillPack currently serves all states except for Hawaii. The company’s 2018 acquisition by Amazon has thrust it into a prominent place in the news cycle recently. Hailed as a “disrupter” of the status quo, PillPack constantly advocates for the notion that in healthcare, patients should come first and care should be simpler.

There are several companies that offer basic medication management and delivery services, but PillPack is currently the only one that offers accessories for using its presorted pill pouches. Customers can choose to buy the brand’s reasonably priced “premium dispenser” package. With a sleek reusable countertop dispenser and a sturdy cloth travel pouch included, this premium package gives customers two tools for keeping their pouches organized. These accessory options eliminate the need for an ugly, flimsy cardboard dispenser box on the counter or in a suitcase. Many customers will appreciate such functional add-ons that other companies just don’t provide.

Overview of PillPack Services

24/7 Support Yes
OTC Add-Ons Yes, with or w/o prescription
Ratings BBB Rating: A BBB Stars: 1.75/5 Trustpilot Score: 2/5 Google Stars: 4.2/5
Offering Presorted Medications Since 2013
App Access Apple

PillPack Basics

PillPack offers many positives to customers, including near-universal insurance coverage, the ability to work with cash-paying patients, the option of helpful accessories, and a very proactive prescription renewal policy. PillPack pharmacists reach out to your doctor six weeks before your prescription runs out to ensure that you won’t be left without your medications.

Customer reviews of PillPack tend to be mixed, with some customers loving the service and some frustrated by it. Below you can explore the pros and cons that present and former PillPack customers express on public forums.

What Customers Like

Customers appreciate the level of convenience that Pillpack provides to them in their medication regimen. One patient mentioned that the pharmacy’s “communication with my doctor has always been great!” Other customers note that copays can be lower with PillPack than they are at competing pharmacies. Numerous customers say that PillPack helps them improve their adherence, and some say they are so happy with the service that they regularly refer family and friends.

What Customers Don’t Like

Some reviewers note a variety of concerning hiccups in their service from Pillpack. Complaints involve medications not being delivered “in a timely manner” due to excessive patient authorization requirements, shipping issues, insurance holdups, or communication errors. A few customers complain of excess charges mistakenly being applied to their accounts. Some customers have noted that PillPack has employed more aggressive sales tactics since being acquired by Amazon.

CVS Multi-Dose Medications

Best Loyalty Program

CVS turns out to be a somewhat unusual company in our list of prescription subscription services. Most of the companies are considered “startups,” newcomers and outsiders in the pharmacy industry. CVS, however, has been serving American consumers since 1963. The company’s name stands for Consumer Value Stores, and most customers know their neighborhood CVS branch as a place to get not only their prescriptions but also a host of health and beauty products as well as many other conveniences. CVS added a multi-dose medication pack option to its repertoire in 2014, giving customers with complex medication regimens the option to have their pills conveniently presorted and delivered each month.

The CVS Multi-Dose Medication service is just a fraction of the business that CVS does, and the brand has integrated this service into its larger program of loyalty rewards. Those already accustomed to doing business with CVS will be familiar with the company’s generous ExtraBucks rewards which can be used like cash towards CVS purchases. When you sign up for the Multi-Dose Medications service you can also add the ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards to your regular rewards account. By doing this you can earn up to $50 per person in rewards each year just for doing normal things like refilling prescriptions, signing up for the email list, and getting immunizations at CVS. For customers who are always looking for ways to save, these opportunities to earn rewards are quite appealing.

Overview of CVS Multi-Dose Services

24/7 Support In limited locations
OTC Add-Ons Yes, with prescription
Ratings BBB Rating: N/A BBB Stars: N/A Trustpilot Score: 1.6/5 Google Stars: 2.3/5
Offering Presorted Medications Since 2014
App Access Apple and Android

CVS Multi-Dose Basics 

If you’re already happy with your local CVS pharmacy but you want extra support to improve your medication adherence, switching to this service will be just right for you. For those who have easy access to transportation, opting for in-store pickup of their Multi-Dose is also an option. CVS only processes 30-day prescriptions in this program. Furthermore, the CVS website cautions that in order to sync up all of your prescriptions for delivery in Multi-Dose packs, you may first need to approve some partial refills.

Finding reviews that specifically cover the Multi-Dose program at CVS is difficult since there are literally thousands of customer reviews of all aspects of CVS pharmacies online. Reviews, whether positive or negative, frequently reflect comments that are specific to locations rather than to the company as a whole. That being said, we’ve provided insights into some common themes mentioned by CVS reviewers regarding pharmacy policies.

What Customers Like

Customers often use words like “consistency” and “efficiency” to describe in-store CVS staff. The phrase “going the extra mile” also appears in multiple customer reviews for a variety of locations. Some customers mention how happy they are that CVS employees help them try to find discounts on prescriptions. Customers also seem to appreciate the Extra Bucks program and the fact that they can earn points on everything from toiletries to prescriptions.

What Customers Don’t Like

CVS reviews with complaints sometimes mention frustrations over the way CVS interacts with insurance. In some instances, customers say that their co-payments display incorrectly in the CVS database, leading to overcharges that are later refunded once CVS catches the error. Some customers mention more serious errors such as the wrong number of pills being included in their prescriptions.

DivvyDOSE

Best Trial Period 

Dr. Arvind Movva founded DivvyDOSE in 2014 after practicing as a gastroenterologist and seeing firsthand the impact of poor medication adherence in some of his patients. Already experienced in medical entrepreneurship, Dr. Movva turned his attention to helping fix this potentially deadly problem. Dr. Movva calls DivvyDOSE his labor of love. He credits the business’s rapid growth to the highly experienced pharmacists that he brought on board when he started the company. DivvyDOSE now serves forty-nine states out of its Chicago, Illinois headquarters.

 

DivvyDose offers seniors a rare opportunity to try its services with its “Happiness Guarantee.” Anyone who signs up for its drug delivery service has the ability to ask for a refund of double the amount of any out-of-pocket costs incurred in the first 30 days of service. This guarantee shows that the company puts a premium on customer satisfaction, and it also demonstrates that DivvyDOSE believes in its own ability to meet customers’ needs. This guarantee is quite unusual as most medication delivery services offer no money-back guarantees at all.

Overview of DivvyDOSE Services

24/7 Support Yes
OTC Add-Ons Prescription not necessary
Ratings BBB Rating: N/A BBB Stars: N/A Trustpilot Score: N/A Google Stars: 3/5
Offering Presorted Medications Since 2014
App Access Apple

DivvyDOSE Basics

DivvyDOSE provides excellent service and puts a lot of effort into all the small details of its shipments. Each DivvyDOSE shipment includes a “Divvycard,” a pocket-sized list of one’s medications, including OTCs. The list contains concise dosing instructions. Color photographs of the pills included in the presorted doses are listed on the side of the box, too. This visual acts as a thoughtful safety precaution so that patients can know what they’re taking in case of any errors.

Overall, DivvyDOSE handles patients’ prescriptions in a professional, detail-oriented way. The brand works with virtually all major insurance providers except for Humana and serves customers in all states except Maryland. Below you can read what customers like and don’t like about the brand.

What Customers Like

Multiple DivvyDOSE customers mention that this service makes travel easy since they just have to tear off the appropriate amount of pill pouches for their travel- no bottles necessary. Many customers also say that they appreciate that the box always arrives about one week before the last one runs out. Customer service representatives are almost universally described as “nice,” and words like “helpful” and “knowledgeable” frequently appear in reviews.

What Customers Don’t Like

A few reviewers complain that billing procedures were inadequately described to them, leading to unexpected automatic charges for the patients. A few Google reviews also allege that the company cold-calls patients who have not requested to be contacted. The most serious complaints, made by a minority of customers, say that the company included the wrong pills in shipments. One reviewer also mentions that the service is not an appropriate solution for those who have frequent medication changes.

Accupac by Accuserv Pharmacy

Best Quality Assurance Process 

Accuserv Pharmacy was founded in 1993 and is currently lead by President and CEO Marvin Sheffler. This pharmacy, a small operation with just one branch in Irwin, nevertheless is able to serve patients nationwide through its presorted pill delivery program. The presorted portion of the business, Accupac, has been operational since 2015. The Accuserv pharmacy sets itself apart from typical pharmacies not only through its packaging and delivery, but also by its specialization in severe and chronic conditions such as chronic kidney disease, HIV/AIDs, hepatitis, cancer, and more. This is a pharmacy that goes the extra mile to coordinate medications and offer advice in complex situations.

Aside from the company’s emphasis on specialized advice, Accupac by Accuserv Pharmacy holds a special place on our list because of its process for filling presorted prescription boxes. Accuserv has a 12-point electronic prescription verification and quality assurance system. The electronic system can find small discrepancies in shape, size, density, and color of pills, thereby catching dispensing mistakes. The system also photographs each pill pack so that the pharmacy has a record of its own dispensing. Finally, all pill packs are checked by a pharmacist, adding a human element to the process at each step. The meticulous Accupac method of screening packages provides customers with peace of mind.

Overview of Accupac by Accuserv Pharmacy Services

24/7 Support Yes
OTC Add-Ons Prescription not necessary
Ratings BBB Rating: N/A BBB Stars: N/A Trustpilot Score: N/A Google Stars: 3.8/5
Offering Presorted Medications Since 2015
App Access Apple and Android

Accupac by Accuserv Pharmacy Basics 

In addition to offering presorted medications, Accupac can deliver a host of necessary medical items like insulin and inhalers. For customers in the Pittsburgh area, in-store visits to set up the delivery service are an option, while those who aren’t local can always find out more and begin the process over the phone. A phone app from the company provides convenient reminders for those who want them. The Accupac staff handles medication refills by calling one week before refills are due to verify that the customer still desires the refill. This company takes its dispensing accuracy so seriously that it promises refunds for any dispensing errors in its pill packets.

Finding reviews on Accupac or Accuserv proves difficult. The company is small, with only four reviews currently posted on its Google Business profile and no reviews posted on the other three major review sites we commonly use to check customer satisfaction. It’s difficult to generalize from such a low sample of reviews, but we’ve included some points below that those who do review bring up.

What Customers Like

Multiple reviews posted on the Accupac website state that Accupac provides emotional relief to worried family members of the chronically ill. When families know that their loved ones are getting proper dosage, it’s easier to feel hopeful and less stressed. On Google reviews, customers mention that the physical location of Accuserv isn’t too crowded and has friendly staff. One customer also calls Accuserv an “inexpensive” option.

What Customers Don’t Like

One unhappy customer states that the delivery service works less smoothly than he was lead to believe it would. He writes that boxes arrive a few days late, causing gaps in adherence. He also writes that the auto-fill feature of the plan doesn’t actually work and that he has to call the pharmacy to remind them he needs refills. On Facebook, two other customers note that old prescriptions were sometimes filled when they did not need to be.

Simple Meds

Best Medication List Design

Simple Meds was founded by Paul, John, and Lori Hogan in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Hogan family has another business, Home Instead Senior Care, that provides in-home assistive services for seniors. The Hogans began their Simple Meds service as a response to the need they saw for better medication management through their home care business. Started in 2015 with just five employees, by 2016 Simple Meds had grown significantly and launched its services nationwide. The Hogans say that many of their customers take ten different medications, and giving up the sorting of them to Simple Meds is a huge relief.

Simple Meds is one of the best companies on the market thanks to the thoughtful way it packages its medication. Of course, like all companies on our list, boxes from Simple Med come with the usual convenient features of pill pouches attached to one another in perforated strips, carefully labeled. Beyond these basics, however, Simple Meds includes a medication list with a link to educational videos about the patient’s medication. Patients can use their phones to scan the QR code on their list and conveniently learn all they need to know about their medication(s), helping to empower and educate patients regarding their health.

Overview of Simple Meds Services

24/7 Support No
OTC Add-Ons Prescription not necessary
Ratings BBB Rating: A+
BBB Stars: N/A
Trustpilot Score: N/A
Google Stars: 4.3/5
Offering Presorted Medications Since 2015
App Access None

Simple Meds Basics 

According to the Simple Meds website, the company takes most forms of insurance, including Medicare Part D, and is almost always able to offer the same copays as other pharmacies. Unfortunately, the website doesn’t offer many specific details about its exact company policies, though it does have an FAQ section that answers some elementary questions. Simple Meds only takes 30-day prescriptions, not 90-day ones.

Simple Meds generally rates well in online reviews, though reviews are not especially plentiful. To learn about what customers like and dislike about Simple Meds, read our summaries of customer opinions below.

What Customers Like

Customers call Simple Meds service “timely” and easy to use. Some customers even describe switching from a competitor service to Simple Meds and being happier with Simple Meds. According to reviews, this service is a huge benefit to caregivers who are administering medication to family members with Alzheimer’s. Customers also rate this service highly for its follow up on prescription changes.

What Customers Don’t Like

Some customers express frustration with the way that Simple Meds attempted to sync up prescriptions to the same medication box. Apparently Simple Meds does not always provide partial refills or other precautionary measures to give patients enough medication to last until all medications are synced up for the same box. Other patients mention that they cannot get all of their medications filled through Simple Meds, though this is likely due to government regulations on controlled substances, rather than anything to do with Simple Meds.

ExactCare

Most Personal Service

ExactCare is perhaps the largest company on our list, with over 400 employees and several thousands of customers served each year. Pharmacist Dale M. Wollschleger established the company in 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio. As a closed-door pharmacy, ExactCare has no brick-and-mortar locations for customers to visit. Instead, ExactCare focuses on bringing the pharmacy to the customer through in-home visits and deliveries. The company also has a branch of service that helps hospitals and other institutions with discharge planning, healthcare technology, and a variety of other medical services.

ExactCare describes itself as a “high-touch” healthcare company, meaning that the company values regular, personal interactions with patients. Those who choose to sign up for ExactCare will get a lot more than a phone call or an email. ExactCare employees across the nation visit patients in their homes to help them take stock of all their prescriptions. The ExactCare specialist helps the patient with calls to doctors and pharmacists. Patients who get prescriptions from multiple doctors sometimes have redundant or incompatible medications, and the ExactCare specialist can catch such medication problems and “reconcile” them, eliminating potentially dangerous problems. For patients with particularly complex needs, this company provides the most personal medication management possible from a prescription delivery service.

Overview of ExtraCare Services

24/7 Support No
OTC Add-Ons Prescription not necessary
Ratings BBB Rating: C+ BBB Stars: 5/5 Trustpilot Score: N/A  Google Stars: 2.7/5
Offering Presorted Medications Since 2009
App Access Apple and Android

ExactCare Basics 

Most of ExactCare’s patients are referred to the company by other healthcare providers and insurance companies, but patients can also initiate sign-up by calling the company. ExactCare states that it can work with uninsured patients but that costs for uninsured patients will typically be high. Although ExactCare provides far more personal service than most comparable prescription subscription companies, patients need only cover their normal insurance copays.

Those who are interested in learning about customer opinions of ExactCare will easily be able to find such opinions online. Most reviews are available on the company’s Google Business profile, but others are available on some other sites such as the Better Business Bureau.

What Customers Like

Numerous customers state that they have never had a problem with ExactCare. Some customers say they have been receiving medication management for five or more years, a testament to the value of the company’s service. Over and over again, customers applaud the care the company’s employees express for patients. One customer writes that the clinicians and customer service representatives were “never…rude or indifferent to me” and that her medications were always “spot on.”

What Customers Don’t Like

A few customers mention problems with setting up their in-home visits. Complaints range from clinicians missing appointments to customer service representatives pushing for in-home visits when they are not wanted. Other customers say that they have experienced delays in the shipping of medications, even when requesting expedited service.

CareZone

Most Transparent

CareZone, co-founded by Jonathan Schwartz and Walter Smith, brings prescription subscription services and technological innovation to customers in a warm, user-friendly manner. The company was founded in San Francisco but has since moved its headquarters to Seattle. Since its inception in 2012, the company’s app has been downloaded 5 million times, and the company manages over 15 million different prescriptions for its patients. This brand was initially focused on its app, which can be used independently of the prescription service to manage health information. Now CareZone emphasizes its excellent prescription delivery service, with the app supporting it.

Of all of the companies on our list, CareZone offers the most transparency. By scrolling to the bottom of the CareZone page and clicking “Knowledge Base,” customers are transported to the CareZone Help Center. The company has posted over 100 miniature articles that answer questions about company history, using the app, how long it takes to get medications, and more. Few companies put so much effort into making answers so easy to find for customers who don’t want to pick up the phone.

Overview of CareZone Services

24/7 Support No
OTC Add-Ons Prescription only
Ratings BBB Rating: A BBB Stars: 2.5/5 Trustpilot Stars: N/A Google Stars: 4.4/5
Offering Presorted Medications Since 2012
App Access Apple and Android

CareZone Basics

CareZone offers customers many perks not only through its medication delivery but also through its sophisticated, secure app. Patients can set medication reminders and build patient profiles not only for themselves but also for other family members and even pets. These profiles can be useful during doctor visits. The app is rated very highly by customers on both Google Play and the Apple Store. This company takes most insurance plans, although those who have benefits connected to the Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) Express Scripts may no longer have access to benefits with CareZone due to contract changes in the last few years.

CareZone reviews are less plentiful online than one would expect, given the company’s size. Still, many reviews contain positive thoughts left by happy customers. Reviews are perhaps most plentiful on the company’s Facebook page. Read on to discover commonly expressed consumer opinions on the company.

What Customers Like

Happy CareZone Customers mention reasonable drug prices, a sophisticated medication reminder system on the app, and a general appreciation for the smoothness of transferring to CareZone. On the app store, one customer goes so far as to say the app is like “an old, trusted friend” thanks to its timely reminders. Customers appreciate how much having medication delivered through CareZone cuts down on their trips to the pharmacy.

What Customers Don’t Like

Various customers, especially ones reaching out on Facebook, mention that they have experienced glitches with the CareZone app. Problems include the app freezing on the login screen, reverting to old medication timers instead of the new ones that the customer sets, and not allowing the customer to view important notifications from CareZone on their desktop browsers.

Other Prescription Delivery Services to Consider

As we researched prescription subscription companies, we found many online pharmacies that offer delivery, discounts, and other perks but that don’t have the option of presorted pills. For some seniors with simple medication routines, one of these companies could be perfect because they eliminate the need for a trip to the pharmacy- something many seniors find difficult due to lack of transportation, feeling poorly, or other factors. If you don’t need presorted medications but you do need delivery, take a look at the two best non-sorted prescription delivery options below.

AllianceRx by Walgreens

Walgreens began in 1901 as just one store in Chicago, but the brand has grown tremendously since then. In about 120 years, the chain has grown to include 9,277 stores throughout the United States and some territories. The company estimates that about 78% of the US population lives within five miles of a Walgreens or affiliated store. Overall, in one year these drug stores provide about 1.2 billion prescriptions and immunizations, and they serve about 8 million customers.

Many customers already use and trust Walgreens, but they may not realize that Walgreens also offers a home delivery program called AllianceRx. Shipping is free to those with the correct insurance coverage, so check with your insurance to see if you qualify. Registering for the delivery program gives the patient access to a 24/7 pharmacy advice line, an automatic renewal option, and online account access. Unlike most prescription subscription services on the list above, with Walgreens you can choose to receive a 90-day supply of medication instead of just a 30-day supply. Co-pays may also be lower for this reason. Those who wish to sign up for the Alliance Rx program can do so on the 24-hour phone line or with a mail-in form that is downloadable online.

Overview of AllianceRx by Walgreens Services

Works with Uninsured Patients No
Offers Discounts Sometimes
Includes OTC Medications No
Prescriptions Sizes Handled 90 day supply or other
Offers an App Yes

Blink Health was founded in 2015 by Geoffrey and Matthew Chaiken as a way to help customers get better drug prices. Blink Health frequently refers to itself as “the cure for high drug prices” since it provides customers with impressive pre-negotiated discounts on 15,000 generic drugs. To accomplish its goals the company partners with over 35,000 pharmacies nationwide, including ones located in Walmart, Safeway, Albertsons, Costo, Kroger, and other retail chains. Recently Blink Health has grown to become part of the “telehealth” industry, offering online visits with doctors who can prescribe some medications.

You can buy medications from Blink Health in one of two ways: using a prescription you already have or getting a prescription from a Blink Health doctor online (only available for limited, minor conditions). Using an online doctor usually means you’ll pay a recurring monthly fee of about $10. Otherwise, Blink Health requires no subscription fees or commitments. Drug prices on Blink Health are often 80% lower than at CVS and Walgreens. Patients pay for the drug online and choose to either pick it up at a pharmacy nearby or have it delivered to them in their homes (not all drugs are eligible). Shipping is free with Blink Health, and auto-refill is an option for many drugs. If you find a better price elsewhere, Blink Health will refund you the difference through its Price Match Guarantee.

Overview of Blink Health Services

Works with Uninsured Patients Yes
Offers Discounts Yes
Includes OTC Medications No
Prescriptions Sizes Handled All
Offers an App Yes

How to Choose a Prescription Subscription Service

If you read reviews of prescription subscription services online, you’ll quickly realize that many seniors and other consumers are confused about how these services work. If, like many others, you find yourself unsure if a prescription subscription is right for you, check out our step-by-step guide to understanding and selecting prescription subscriptions below.

Step 1: Explore how Presorted Pills Might Improve Your Adherence

The concept of a service that automatically refills, sorts, and delivers your pills to you is still a quite new one. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to tell if you’re a good candidate for such a service or not. If you take multiple maintenance (daily) medications, then review the questions listed below. If you answer yes to one or more of them, you may be a good candidate for a prescription subscription service.

Evaluating your need for a prescription subscription:

  • Do you miss doses or get confused about which pills you’ve already taken?
  • Do you spend too much time sorting prescriptions for the day or attempting to fill weekly pillbox calendars?
  • Do you struggle with opening child-safe pill bottles?
  • Has your doctor told you that you need to improve your adherence to your medication regimen?
  • Do you miss days of medication because you forget to call in refills?
  • Is going to the pharmacy multiple times a month an annoyance or burden to you?

Step 2: Understand Factors that Could Disqualify You from Using A Prescription Subscription

There are few circumstances that may disqualify you from using prescription subscription services even if you otherwise seem like a good candidate. As much as it would be great for all seniors who struggle with medication management to use a subscription, you should consider whether or not any of the circumstances below apply to you.

Delivery may not be right for you if:

    • You take Schedule II drugs: Schedule II drugs, like narcotics and medications for treating ADHD, are tightly regulated by the government. They are usually are not eligible for mail delivery or for being combined in packets with other pills.
    • You have frequent medication changes: If your doctor is trying you on different treatments or doses to find the right one, then a subscription will cause you problems and medication delays. These services are for patients with fairly consistent medication schedules.
    • You take compounded medication: These medications are mixed in a special pharmacy rather than being mass-produced and shipped from a manufacturer. Subscription services rarely if ever handle such specialized medications.
    • You have a 90-day refill: Many delivery services only handle 30-day prescriptions. If you switch from a 90-day to 30-day prescription, your copay could rise. Verify the situation with insurance and the company before deciding.
    • You cannot tolerate delays: The truth is that packages get lost in the mail, stolen, or otherwise delayed all the time. Discuss with your doctor, insurance, and the company what would happen if a delay of one to three weeks were to occur. Discuss whether, in case of delay, emergency refills could be called into a local pharmacy for same-day pickup.

Step 3: Look Into Payment Structures and Insurance Coverage

The basic premise of using a prescription subscription service is that the service is like any other pharmacy, just with more convenient packaging, delivery, and customer service. The cost to you should just be for your medication- you shouldn’t pay extra for shipping, packaging, advice, or assistance with refills.

Insured Use of Prescription Subscriptions

Most major prescription subscription services work with all major insurance companies, including Medicare Part D plans. You will pay the copays or out of pocket costs that your insurance was already requiring you to cover at your old pharmacy. In some cases, switching to a delivery service can even result in a lower copay because the delivery service may be able to get you a discounted or generic medication that your old pharmacy did not provide. However, getting the same or lower copays isn’t guaranteed. Occasionally copays will be higher.

Uninsured Use of Prescription Subscriptions

If you are going through an uninsured phase or if for some reason your insurance does not cover any delivery services, you may still find a company willing to work with you, though it could be difficult. Paying for medications out of pocket can be quite expensive, but some services provide extra assistance like discounts. If you’re uninsured you may need to shop around to find the best price.

Step 4: Compare Essential Features of Multiple Companies

If you are uninsured or if your insurance can be used at multiple prescription subscription companies, there are some features and company practices that you should consider when comparing plans. If a company hasn’t been recommended to you by your insurance then you may want to also check its legitimacy by asking for its pharmacy license number.  You can check the number the company gives you against your state’s Board of Pharmacy online database. Try to compare three or more companies, considering the categories below that matter most to you.

Pill Sorting 

When you’re comparing companies, you can ask a salesperson to explain how the pharmacy goes about verifying that you’re getting the right pills in each packet. Each company may check accuracy a little differently, but they should all be able to explain what steps are taken to ensure your safety.

Refills and Renewals 

All prescription subscriptions offer assistance with processing refills and renewals. Find out how much the company expects you to do to make refills and renewals happen. Will you need to authorize each new refill, or just refills for as-needed medications? How far in advance does the company process refills? Do they make multiple attempts to contact you, your doctors, and insurance, or do they let problems go unresolved if no one picks up the phone immediately? Talk to a salesperson about communication policies.

Consumer Technology

Many companies offer apps or online logins that allow you to view your medication list, make changes to your account, set medication reminder alerts, contact a pharmacist, make payments, view discounts, add a prescription, and more. Before signing up, read reviews of the app’s effectiveness if possible, and consider whether it’s offered for your phone’s operating system or not.

Customer Service

You can judge the company’s customer service on a variety of factors, including the friendliness of call center staff, how well the company’s business hours meet your needs, the availability of a 24-hour helpline, and the presence of any moneyback guarantees (these are rare).

OTCs

If you take some form of over the counter (OTC) medication, find out if the company can include it in your pill pack. Does the company require a prescription for your OTCs, or can it simply add them to your account with no extra hassle? Does the company let you add generic OTCs, or does it require that you select a higher-cost brand name?

Extras

If you take an inhaler, insulin injections, eye drops, or other regular prescriptions that don’t fit in pill packs, find out if the company can ship them to you as well. Not all companies ship insulin or other products that require refrigeration, so you’ll want to make sure before committing.

Step 5: Don’t Forget About Local Options

Before settling on using one of the excellent national companies that are available, you may want to look into local options. Some local pharmacies package their own multidose packs in-house and deliver them or make them available for pickup once monthly. This option may or may not be a free service when offered on the local level. Consider the cost and convenience involved. Local alternatives are most likely to be available in large metropolitan areas like New York City, where couriers can deliver medication on the same day you order it. Try searching for multi-dose medication packaging and delivery by city, county, or zip code and see what you find.

Step 6: Begin the Setup Process

Many prescription subscription services say that it takes just 15 minutes to sign up. In practice, it may be a longer process for you, particularly if you have questions or if your prescription or insurance situation is unusually complex. However, the company should take care of contacting your old pharmacy, insurance, and doctors as needed. You just need to give the company some information to get the process started.

To get signed up you’ll usually need:

  • Insurance information
  • A list of current medications
  • Your contact information
  • Your doctors’ and pharmacy’s contact information
  • A payment method

Your current prescriptions were probably prescribed at different times and therefore have differing refill dates. Companies need to sync up your refills in order to put all of your medications in presorted packets. They may ask your doctor and insurance to approve partial refills on some drugs to achieve this. You will probably have extra copays as a result. Sometimes doctors or insurance may deny the request, leading to delays. Sometimes the delay between sign up and the first box can stretch to about three weeks. Make sure you clarify with all involved parties what resources you have while you wait for your first box. Communicate thoroughly so that you won’t run out of medication before your first delivery.

Frequently Asked Questions

How accurate are presorted medication services?

Services that presort your pills for you greatly reduce the likelihood that you will make a mistake when taking your medication. However, using these services means that you are trusting the safety policies of the supplying pharmacy. Of course, that’s something you do already, but it becomes more complex when the pharmacy is responsible for grouping your doses for you. The dispensing accuracy of prescription subscriptions compared to regular pharmacies is still a matter of debate, and some customers do say in online reviews that they have received the wrong pills. Before signing up for a service, ask how its pharmacists go about checking the accuracy of your scripts and of the pill pouches.

Are presorted medication packets child safe?

No, these packets are not child safe. They are made of thin plastic, and they are made to be easy to tear open. It’s crucial that you store your medication pouches out of reach of children, pets, or anyone likely to try to open them. If you have pain or weakness in your hands or if you otherwise tend to struggle with child-safe containers, these packets will be a welcome change for you. Still, they do increase your responsibility to keep them secure.

What is adherence in the context of medication?

Adherence means taking medication the way it was prescribed to you. Most seniors intend to have good adherence, but when they deal with multiple medications on a daily basis, their adherence often drops dramatically. Taking too much or too little of your medication or taking it at the wrong time all negatively affects your adherence. Over time, poor adherence leads to worse health outcomes, unpredictable side effects, and more health expenses due to the reduced effectiveness of the medication that is being taken. Presorted pill packs are a tool for increasing adherence rates, as are other tools like apps that remind you to take your medication.

What are the risks of receiving medication by mail?

There are a few risks inherent to receiving medication by USPS mail, UPS, or other delivery services. Perhaps the most distressing issue with mailed medication is that occasionally a medication box may be stolen if the third party delivery service leaves it on your porch. If you can’t get an emergency refill overnighted or called into your local pharmacy, this could leave you with a serious problem. The second most common problem you may face is that your package could get lost or delayed in the mail, especially during holiday seasons when shipping traffic increases. It’s wise to think about what steps you or the prescription subscription service would take if an emergency like this were to occur.

Is it difficult to get prescriptions transferred from your old pharmacy?

Switching to a prescription subscription should be easy, but sometimes delays occur. When the online pharmacy contacts your old pharmacy for a prescription transfer, your old pharmacy may fear a scam is involved. They may refuse to transfer your prescription until they get confirmation of your consent, but they may not reach out for that consent very effectively. This can really slow down the delivery of your initial medication shipment. To make the transfer process go smoothly, you may wish to call your pharmacy and inform them that a transfer request from your chosen company is on its way. You may also wish to notify your doctor’s office as well, just in case.