We’ve all been there. You visit the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and your heart skips a beat when you find out your total owing. Even with health coverage from Alberta Blue Cross®, some prescription drug prices are inescapable.
We are always looking for ways to help you get the most out of your benefits, that includes finding ways to keep out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum when filling your prescriptions.
Here four things you can try today.
1. COMPARE PHARMACY DISPENSING FEES
Pharmacies charge a fee every time they dispense a medication. As an Alberta Blue Cross® member, you benefit from our pharmacy agreements, which ensure that pharmacies cannot charge you an excessive dispensing fee. However, some pharmacies may choose to charge lower dispensing fees. By assessing the services you receive from your pharmacy and the dispensing fees they charge, you may decide to choose a pharmacy that provides you with the best price for your prescription drug purchases so that you pay less out of pocket.
2. GET A LONGER SUPPLY OF MEDICATIONS FOR CHRONIC CONDITIONS
If you are taking a medication on a regular basis for treatment of a chronic condition, ask your pharmacist if it’s possible to fill a three-month supply. This will limit the number of trips you have to make to the pharmacy and saves you money on dispensing fees.
3. REQUEST A GENERIC DRUG
Generic drugs contain the same amount of active ingredients and work the same as brand-name medications, but they often cost much less. All drugs are subject to the same standards when approved by Health Canada, so choosing generic drugs can decrease out-of-pocket expenses and keep your drug plan affordable.
The next time you fill your prescription, ask your pharmacist if there is a generic option available.
4. REVIEW YOUR MEDICATIONS REGULARLY
Have your doctor or pharmacist regularly re-evaluate your medications. This a great way to make sure your therapy is safe, effective and still required.
Could you please email me the coverage I have currently I do not know aAB C D
I’m sure you don’t want to post your personal email online for everyone to see, so if you submit your inquiry to our customer services team at https://ab.bluecross.ca/contact-us.php they will be able to look this up for you. Alternatively, you can call us at 1-800-661-6995 and we’d be happy to help you out. Please also ensure you have your plan ID number on hand.
Hello trying to find out if I have dental coverage . Had 21 teeth pulled very expensive. Thankd
Please help me find out what I have for
Coverage. Also how
Covered yearly and when does it start over again.
Specific things I want to know if it’s covered
Hello there, we will need some more information from you to help answer these questions. We’ve sent you an email directly. Thanks!
I m trying to see my coverage for my retirement plan. It says to refer to the booklet for the plan. Then it says the booklet is not available online. Why not? I would have gotten that 12 years ago.
Please let me know what I have as far as dental / eye exams/ therapist /massage. What is yar end.
My email is OliviaPopowichyyc@gmail.com
Hi Olivia! You can check your benefits and see what is available for coverage when you sign into the member site: members.ab.bluecross.ca
How does one find out the pharmacies dispensing fees when they advise you that it is confidential.
Dispensing fees are not at all confidential. You should be able to walk into (or call) any pharmacy and ask what they would charge for a dispensing fee. Keep in mind the fee will depend on the drug, the cost of the drug and what it takes to put it together (are they mixing ingredients for instance) so it can vary and there’s not just one flat fee. That being said, if you call your pharmacy and says my doctor prescribed X drug I need to know what you would charge for a dispensing fee, your pharmacy should be able to provide that information.
Interesting what you say about prescriptions. You say we just talk to a pharmacist to get up to three months on drugs. My pharmacist says it is Blue Cross that holds them back from dispensing more. I was getting most of my prescriptions at once, and Blue Cross wouldn’t allow one of my drugs for two more days. Two more days!! I had to go back to my pharmacy, when I would like to spend as little time as possible in stores, and, I do not live in town, making it more difficult to come back for a prescription. Not cool, ABC
To ensure all Albertans had continued access to essential medications and to help pharmacists manage drug supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alberta government provided guidance that pharmacies provide a maximum 30-day supply of prescription drugs.
While supply levels appear to be returning to normal, some drugs are still in limited supply. Pharmacists should use their professional judgment and dispense a 30-day supply when necessary for specific drugs that continue to have shortages or supply chain issues.
We’re sorry you had to return the pharmacy so soon and hope this can return to normal as soon as possible. To stay up to date on how COVID-19 is impacting your drug coverage, please check out the prescription drug information page on our website.
This is not fully true. Yes so medications had to be held back due to shortages in the supply chain. However Blue Cross also has a maximum on the amount you are able to pick up. I have have no thyroid, yet all I can get is 3 months at a time of the thyroid med. it would be nice if that went up to at least 6 months. I have 12 prescriptions and because of the 3 month limit and when my prescriptions need to be filled I’m at pharmacy weekly.
I am not a Blue Cross member but was considering it, perhaps for next year. I find the issue of delaying refill date and maximum supply limits quite concerning. I have a pre-existing condition that requires 2x daily medications and have to take it or face serious medical risk related to sudden withdrawal of the drugs from my system. My current specialist has not informed me that I should stay with the brand name and when the pharmacist asks me if I have any issue with generics I say I am fine with those rather than brand names. However generics or brand name they take time to come in and supply chain issues can leave me exposed particularly during CoVid so I always order prior to potential exhaustion of my supply. I always order 3 months though it is more for convenience than to minimize dispensing fees. In fact, in the next 3 weeks I will be ordering a 6 month supply of medication as I am travelling and am not sure of the availability of the generic or brand name medication where I am going (it is not the edge of civilization but is a small town) and I have researched and the cost if available is approximately 4x the Canadian cost which would put at least one of my medication out of reach for the middle income earners in that community. So availability is still an unknown. Am I to take from the above discussion that if I was using ABC I cannot refill my prescription before exhausting my supply and that ABC is following Gov AB guidelines re CoVid to refuse to allow claims for medications in excess of a 30 day supply? This would leave me with risk on the initial fill and increased cost and availability risk at the destination end. Also is the ABC prescription cover fixed on the reasonable cost of the medication in Alberta or the cost incurred to procure in another destination?
Thanks in advance. Your reply will dictate whether I pursue a policy with Blue Cross
Hello Michael, thank you so much for your detailed comment. We appreciate your interest and to best answer your questions we have sent you an email directly. Thank you!
Please answer Michael’s questions online here please (and not just a direct email). I think there are others who would like this explained as well. Thank you.
Hello Cheryl, thank you for your comment. For privacy reasons, we cannot disclose details of an individual’s plan publicly, so rather we take these conversations offline in respect for their privacy. We can email you privately to discuss your question as it relates to the above comment. Thanks!
I will gladly like to partake to this article and share some ideas as a pharmacist. Generic drugs. So far According to the latest report by IMARC Group, titled “Generic Drugs Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2020-2025,” the global generic drug market size reached US$ 367 Billion in 2019, registering a CAGR of 5.7% during 2014-2019.
Received email regarding amendment to Blue Cross coverage. Pls email me detailed changes to better understand.
Hi Surinder, we’ve sent you an email requesting some more information so we can help answer this. Thank you!
Hi, also received the email regarding amendments. Can you please clarify the definition of “Stable” for all us seniors! I believe we would all like to see the clarification (wording). If you could print it on this site I would appreciate it. Thank you kindly.
Hi E Davis,
You will be able to view the fully revised contract by signing into our member site on December 1, 2020. If you want to request a paper copy of the revised contract, please call our Individual Products Administration team at 1-800-394-1965 and select option three.
Some of my meds are currently dispensed at one month supply. Blood pressure. prostrate, such as Tamsulosin.
My pharmacist says they are told to dispense in lower amounts. Could you verify this for me please because I don’t understand
why the prescriptions I take should have low availability .
Hi John, we sent you an email to discuss further with you and learn more. Thank you!
Can I save some of a dispensing fee if I bring back my empty pill container for use for my next prescription? Email please
Hi Ken, we’ve sent you an email regarding your question.
Im wantingvto understand the true value in
Merging to accounts as I have one employee account which ended as of 12/31/2020
account which started as of 01/01/2021
I did I believe correctly merge them ??
Can I assume that information within the old account is and will remain attached or form part of my new account
Hi Gary, we’ve shared your comment with our team and will have someone reach out. Thank you!
Can you send me info on the dental coverage
Hi William, you can find information on our dental coverage plans here: https://ab.bluecross.ca/myplan/my-dental-benefits.php
Where do I find my tax receipt for 2020?
The quickest way to get your tax receipt is to use our member site or app. You can sign in here or you can register here. Once signed in, follow the instructions in our blog post to access the type of tax document that you’re looking for. If you’re having any trouble, please contact us using our contact page or call us a 1-800-661-6695.
How can I find out if a particular drug is covered by my plan?
Hi Tracy, if you log in to our member site or our app, you can use our drug look up tool to check if a drug is covered by your plan. Once you’re in the member site, just click on “Benefits”, then select “Drug coverage” and go to the “Drug look-up tool” panel.
Thanks for the tips on saving on prescription drugs. As an AB Blue Cross Member, am I protected from every pharmacy not charging excessive dispensing fees? Or is it only certain pharmacies that have that agreement with AB Blue Cross?
Hello Vinna, the overwhelming majority of pharmacies in Alberta, over 99%, have a direct billing agreement with Alberta Blue Cross. You can locate these pharmacy providers busing the provider look up tool on the member site or the Alberta Blue Cross Mobile App.
I wish I knew how to complete de HRA in the Reward Store . I have tried my best to get the extra points but I do not know how to do it .
I have very little computer skills .
Hi Ted, you can complete the HRA by logging into the member site and clicking on “Balance” under the “Your benefits” tab. For more information about Balance, check out this blog post.
Hi, I need to add benefits information for my wife to my application. Can you let me how I can do that? Or if I need to re apply.
If you call us at 1-800-661-6995, we’d be happy to help you out. Please also ensure you have your plan ID number on hand.
GET A LONGER SUPPLY OF MEDICATIONS FOR CHRONIC CONDITIONS
If you are taking a medication on a regular basis for treatment of a chronic condition, ask your pharmacist if it’s possible to fill a three-month supply. I did ask and they said Blue Cross would not let me have 3 months. This is costing me 50$ extra dollars every 3 months. Wish someone would look into this.
Hi Maxine, we’ve sent you an email regarding this. Thank you
Hello, does Blue Cross offer the ability to top up a drug plan? My husbands work uses Blue Cross but we only get 80% coverage and because of my cancer and other autoimmune conditions I still have a medication that cost me up to $400 after the 80% coverage.
Hello – I’m a senior having to travel to B.C. for 5 to 6 months, to be a care-giver. Is there a way to have my regular prescriptions filled for that period? If not am I allowed to submit a claim for out of province expense upon my return?
Hello Greg, we need a bit more information from you to help answer your question. For a more immediate response please call our team at 1-800-661-6995 or email us your member ID and contact information at email@example.com. Thanks
Does Blue Cross for seniors cover or partly cover dental costs for an annual teeth cleaning?
Hello, coverage for seniors does not cover dental services, but there is a dental and optical assistance program for seniors that we recommend looking in to 🙂 You can learn more about that here: https://www.alberta.ca/dental-optical-assistance-seniors.aspx
Why would regular pain medications I take for a chronic condition not be covered by my benefit plan? To my knowledge there is no generic replacement available.
Hello, please contact our customer services team and we can take a look at your plan as well as some other options that might be available to you. You can reach us at 1-800-661-6995
The benefit for vision care is so ridiculous, only $80 every 2 years!!!!!
Does Alberta Blue Cross GOA plan cover Shinlges Virus vaccine shots?
Just turned 65. Cant find any info on dental for seniors? Is there any?
Hello John, you can learn about the coverage for seniors program by visiting https://www.alberta.ca/coverage-for-seniors-program.aspx
I need to know if ozempic is covered, I’m group #77563. Thank you.
How does one submit a claim for Medical equipment?
Couldn’t find a direct link on the website.
Hello, here is a how to guide for submitting a claim online. https://www.ab.bluecross.ca/member/online-services/help/submit-a-claim.php
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medication regimen on a frequent basis. I completely concur with this; good article!