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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


  • Connie. Glasier says:

    Could you please email me the coverage I have currently I do not know aAB C D

  • Ed Cappis says:

    How does one find out the pharmacies dispensing fees when they advise you that it is confidential.

    • Hi Ed,

      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.

    • gt750 says:

      I’d immediately be suspicious. Ask to speak to the Manager, & ask why the Employee won’t give you the “filling fee” or “dispensing fee”. They may be hiding that information because it is at the maximum and other pharmacies don’t charge that much. It may simply be a newer Employee that is ignorant of the actual pharmacy policies.Best to ask the Pharmacy Manager.
      For me, there are other factors beside price, that go into my decision on who I choose to fill my prescriptions, will they phone my doctor for refills, will they extend my prescriptions if I forget to go to the Doctors office for a new script. How they speak to me is important, will they offer suggestions that may be beneficial to me, are they friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable.

  • Linda Mills says:

    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

    • Hi Linda,

      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.

      • Maurie Hornland-Grueber says:

        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.

  • Michael Kelly says:

    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!

      • Cheryl Janke says:

        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!

  • Colleen says:

    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.

  • surinder Kapur says:

    Received email regarding amendment to Blue Cross coverage. Pls email me detailed changes to better understand.

  • E Davis says:

    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.

  • John Merkowsky says:

    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 .
    Thank you,

  • Ken H says:

    Can I save some of a dispensing fee if I bring back my empty pill container for use for my next prescription? Email please

  • Gary Clark says:

    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


  • William Campbell says:

    Can you send me info on the dental coverage

  • Margaret Gibson says:

    Where do I find my tax receipt for 2020?

  • Tracy says:

    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.

  • Vinna Vuong says:

    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 .

  • Tony Neron says:

    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.

  • Maxine Epoch says:

    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.
    Thanks M

  • Maurie Hornland-Grueber says:

    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.

  • I save Blue Cross money and also myself- here’s how —I get my doctor to subscribe 80 MG of Sandoz- Telmisartan (Lipitor) and I cut them in half, how I have 6 months supply instead of getting the 40 MG which I take. I used to take 20 MG and cut them in 4 pieces, if you don’t cut just right , no big deal, throw that out. !! It’s real easy to cut a 80 to 40 MG
    No 2 money saver–I take 5 MG of Act-Amlodipine but I get my doctor to subscribe the 10 MG and cut them in half, again that is enough for 6 months supply.
    I save and Blue Cross saves. Tell your clients this.

  • Greg Burman says:

    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?

  • Meropoulis says:

    Does Blue Cross for seniors cover or partly cover dental costs for an annual teeth cleaning?

  • A Mowat says:

    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.

  • K says:

    The benefit for vision care is so ridiculous, only $80 every 2 years!!!!!

  • Donna Rystephanuk says:

    Does Alberta Blue Cross GOA plan cover Shinlges Virus vaccine shots?

  • John says:

    Just turned 65. Cant find any info on dental for seniors? Is there any?

  • Brittany Coxe says:

    I need to know if ozempic is covered, I’m group #77563. Thank you.

  • Client says:

    How does one submit a claim for Medical equipment?
    Couldn’t find a direct link on the website.

  • Sheena says:

    Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medication regimen on a frequent basis. I completely concur with this; good article!

  • Gordon lewis says:

    Could you please send me a list of how much you allow for dentures please thank you

  • Laurene Park says:

    I need a new card mine is lost. Asked for this weeks ago and have not received it. Also I need to know exactly what I am covered for and the cost. I am well over 65. Please list what I am covered for. I will also need a tax receipt. Thanks. Laurene Paark

  • Monika Smetana says:

    Hi, where can I find the prices for the individual plans please? I switched to the portability plan in 2017, and want to now reactivate my personal plan A now since my husband lost his benefits. Or consider plan B possibly.
    Also, is there a plan that works well with AISH? I don’t want to be paying for s plan with the same benefits. Does that make sense?

  • Brian Steffler says:

    Why doesn’t the Alberta Blue Cross Agreement with pharmacists specify that they must show the dispensing fee separate from the total?

  • CW says:

    Where would I find coverage for seniors – specifically for Prescriptions. Trying to understand the cost for different ‘brands’ for the same medication so I can inform the pharmacist to ensure not to over charge me and just dispense the generic version at the lowest cost for going forward

  • Hi there. Thanks for reaching out. Please give our customer service team a call at 1-800-661-6995 and they will be able to assist you with this. Thank you!

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