One of the benefits of CHAMPVA health coverage is the Meds by Mail service. Eligible beneficiaries can receive non-urgent, maintenance medicine through this program at no cost to them. This program is completely free if you are eligible. You can get your supply of long-term drugs such as heart medicine, insulin and painkillers this way. If you have a chronic condition, you definitely want to know about Meds by Mail.
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Overview of Meds by Mail
Meds by Mail is a pharmacy service through which a beneficiary can order qualifying prescription drugs and have them delivered to home. Unlike standard CHAMPVA service where the patient shares in the cost of medical expenses, Meds by Mail is 100% free for eligible persons. There is no cost share or annual deductible to use it.
How Meds by Mail Works
The beneficiary submits an order for maintenance prescription drugs to a Meds by Mail Pharmacy Servicing Center. Then the prescription is filled and sent from a central office in Kansas directly to your home address.
You can still use your local pharmacy for refills if you want. In fact, you should use a nearby pharmacy for urgent situations (that is, where you need the medicine right away) since Meds by Mail can take up to 3 weeks to deliver medicine to your home. Make sure your pharmacy of choice accepts CHAMPVA.
Eligibility for Meds by Mail
Meds by Mail is only for persons who have no other prescription drug coverage. So if you have other health insurance that pays for prescriptions besides CHAMPVA, you cannot avail of Meds by Mail. This includes Medicare Part D. If you want to cancel Medicare Part D to be able to use Meds by Mail, please contact CHAMPVA first. The Meds by Mail brochure states that you must request a letter of creditable coverage from CHAMPVA and have that sent to Medicare.
Kinds of Medicine You Can Get with Meds by Mail
The Meds by Mail program is meant to ease the financial burden on people who must use medication for extended periods. Examples of such maintenance drugs are:
- Blood pressure medicine
- Heart medicine
- Diabetes medicine
- Chronic pain relievers
Non-maintenance drugs like those you use only once or for a week are not eligible for Meds by Mail. You must use a regular pharmacy.
Non-Prescription (Over-the-Counter) Drugs
As a rule, over-the-counter medicine are not covered by CHAMPVA or Meds by Mail. The sole exception is insulin and related supplies.
How to Order Prescription Drugs via Meds by Mail
- Your health care provider should first write a new prescription for you, up to 90 days with up to 3 refills, no more than one year’s worth of supply. (See CHAMPVA Handbook and Meds by Mail brochure.)
- Place your Social Security Number on both the order form and the prescription.
- Make sure you include your provider’s full name, address and telephone number.
- Send the original prescription (not a photocopy) along with VA Form 10-0426: Meds By Mail Order Form.
You can request for a refill over the phone or by mail (using a refill slip).
It can take up to 21 days for orders to get processed. So it’s important not to delay orders. The VA Meds by Mail form says you may need to ask your provider for a second prescription that you can get filled at a nearby pharmacy just in case.
You MUST use the Meds by Mail form each time your provider writes you a new prescription. Also, please note: the original prescription is required for new orders.
More on Meds by Mail
- Over-the-counter drugs are not covered, except for insulin and related products.
- Medicine are usually filled with generic equivalents.
- If you need to take medication right away, or if it’s unavailable through Meds by Mail, you can still use your local pharmacy.
- If you get other health insurance with pharmacy coverage, you will lose Meds by mail benefits.
- All drugs must be FDA-approved to be covered.
Also see Meds by Mail Covered and Non-Covered Drugs, which also discusses label and off-label prescriptions.
Where to Submit Meds by Mail Orders
Where you send your orders depends on where you live. Meds by Mail has two receiving offices, for West and for East. For the list of states, districts and territories and the correct Meds by Mail addresses for these, please see VA Form 10-0426: Meds by Mail Order Form.
For more information about the Meds by Mail program, please see the Meds by Mail brochure and main page. See also Proper Disposal of Medicine for safety tips on how to get rid of unused medication. (All external links.)