I completely underestimated the savings for filling prescriptions through the mail. I’ve had generics for ages, so I never bothered with it.

But Tim’s brand name inhalers are $53 at Walgreens. Ouch. We went to the HMO pharmacy and found out our big savings of… $8. If we get the generic.

That’s when I started taking the mail order option seriously.

We found out that a three month supply will cost $112.50. We’d otherwise pay $90 a month for two inhalers. For those of you playing along at home, that’s more than 50% off.

While I’m thrilled with the savings, actually setting it all up was a debacle.

The form we had to mail in required a physical prescription. The doctor’s office insisted on calling it in. The pharmacy insisted we’d still need to fill out and mail off the form. So we mailed off the form riddled with “prescription called in by doctor” notes.

Naturally, two days later the pharmacy contacted us based on the doctor’s call-in. They asked all the questions and filled out the form for us. Thank goodness we went to all that trouble.

Interestingly, while she reviewed just about every detail of Tim’s health and verified the names of the prescriptions, the pharmacy rep never actually verified the prescription amounts.

We didn’t think anything of it, until the package arrived with just three inhalers. We were still charged us the $112.50, of course.

Turns out, it’s a flat rate for any three month supply. So at least the rate wouldn’t go up once we corrected the prescription.

That said, we were still out of luck for the current batch. I figured we had to wait until the next shipment was sent. Meanwhile, that meant paying $45 for each of the three inhalers he’d need before three months was up.

Luckily, Tim wasn’t so defeatist. Actually, he was downright pissed. He more or less refused to get off the phone until we were assured either three more inhalers or a 50% refund.

Thank goodness he was so stubborn. It took some back and forth with the doctor and pharmacy. But we ended up getting the missing three inhalers without paying another cent.

Guess I’d forgotten one of the major rules of frugality: It never hurts to ask.

So, now it’s all fixed. Well, in the hallowed tradition of bureaucracy they made things more complicated. Instead of sending the three missing inhalers, they sent us a full three month supply. Then charged us half the normal cost. I’m sure that makes sense in some computer somewhere.

Point being, the bureaucracy monster has been assuaged, and we now officially pay $112.50 for six inhalers (normally $45). Which means we’re saving $630 a year.

Which is why I say mail order pharmacies rock… mostly.

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