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CDC says to stockpile your meds – here’s tech to help

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new advice amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: Stockpile medicine and food, and plan to be confined to your home.

That doesn’t mean panic, but definitely stick with information from trusted health organizations and websites. Also, don’t believe the kerfuffle on social media, where misinformation and scams are running rampant. Tap or click here to find out how to spot coronavirus scams.

Being prepared is an essential step, and stocking up on groceries that will last a while is simple enough. But you might be wondering how to stockpile meds. We’ll answer this and other questions on how to prepare for a coronavirus quarantine.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

The CDC says if you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19, it is extremely important for you to take action to reduce your risk of getting sick.

Who is considered high risk? According to the CDC, this includes older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

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Here are a few simple ways to prepare.

First things first — your meds

The CDC recommends having a three-month supply of meds on hand until the situation improves. That includes prescriptions as well as over the counter (OTC) drugs.

With OTC meds, just skip the doctor and head to your local pharmacy. Get things like baby aspirin if you take it regularly, tissues and other medical supplies to treat fevers and other symptoms.

If there is an outbreak of the virus in your area, you don’t want to go to the store for supplies. You can order what you need online and have it delivered, but watch for price gouging. Third-party sellers on Amazon and other websites have been jacking up the price on supplies that brick-and-mortar stores are running short on.

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As for prescription meds, email your doctor and ask for a 90-day prescription to be filled. Have them email it to you so you can print it out and take a hard copy to the pharmacy. If they won’t do that, have them send it out to get filled.

Create an online pharmacy account

While you’re at it, create an online account with your pharmacy if it’s an option. That way, you can monitor any activity and make special requests. Getting 90-day prescriptions will not only keep you covered during the coronavirus scare, but you might also be able to save some money, too.

If CVS is your pharmacy of choice, CVS Caremark offers you a way to save money on your long-term medicines with 90-day supplies. You can choose to fill your prescriptions at any CVS location or with CVS Caremark Mail Service Pharmacy for the same low price.

There are two ways to fill 90-day prescriptions at a CVS pharmacy:

  1. Ask your doctor for a 90-day prescription and have them send it to the CVS location of your choice. To find a location near you, create an account, sign in at caremark.com and select Find a Pharmacy. You can find it in the Order Prescriptions section.
  2. Call or visit your local CVS pharmacy to speak with a pharmacist.

If you prefer having your prescriptions mailed to you, here’s how to sign up for mail service for the first time:

  • Visit caremark.com/mailservice, register for an account and sign in to request a new prescription.
  • Or call CVS toll-free at 1-855-848-9157 and the company will handle the rest.

Still have questions about CVS prescriptions? Check out this helpful CVS flyer.

If Walgreens is your pharmacy of choice, getting 90-day prescriptions is really simple. There are two ways to get it refilled through Walgreens:

  1. At the store – Talk to a pharmacy team member about setting up recurring 90-day refills and they will help get it started.
  2. Online – Register at walgreens.com for a new account and sign in. If you already have an account, just sign in and select “Request a 90-day supply” when you order prescriptions.

If you’re not sure about your own local pharmacy’s services, give them a call.

Don’t overpay

If your insurance doesn’t cover 90-day prescriptions, you might have to pay out of pocket. The good news is you can use a site like Good Rx to look for more affordable means of refilling your medications.

GoodRx is available as both a website and an app for iOS and Android. You can access it by whichever method is most convenient, but we’ll focus on the free app, which has garnered a lot of positive user reviews.

GoodRx promises to save you up to 80% on your prescription drug costs, but that’s on the optimistic side of the scale. The app asks you to look up your medication by name.

Once you select a drug, you can set the form, dosage and quantity, and your location. Tap on the “Find the lowest price” button and you’re off and running. The GoodRx results show how much prescription prices can vary.

Now that you know how to stock up on meds, you should also have enough household items and groceries on hand so you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.

The CDC has given other recommendations on how to prepare for coronavirus, from what symptoms to watch for to what to do if you get sick. You can find that list here.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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