How Does Alto Pharmacy Work with Health Insurance? We Answer Your Top Questions.

Apr 7, 2022


Alto Pharmacy

illustration of a person holding health insurance card
illustration of a person holding health insurance card
illustration of a person holding health insurance card

Getting the medication you need often involves more than just receiving a prescription from your doctor and filling it at a pharmacy. And navigating the complexities of insurance coverage, from copays and deductibles to formularies and medication tiers, can be a particularly big source of stress.

A great pharmacy partner makes sure you’re never alone in working through the details of your insurance plan’s pharmacy benefits. At Alto, we tackle all of the insurance-related legwork for you and give you the information you need to understand the process.

Below, we’ve answered some common questions about insurance coverage for prescription medications, including how we go above and beyond to ensure that you’re receiving your medications on time and at the lowest price possible.

How do I know how much my medication will cost at Alto?

When you get started with Alto, we’ll automatically pull in any insurance information we can find. If you have additional coverage, just let us know and we’ll add it to your profile. For each prescription, we’ll check with your primary (and secondary) insurance plan to pull your copay amount — the amount you owe out of pocket for your medications — including any possible savings. (More about that below!)

Sometimes paying cash for your medications, separate from insurance benefits, will be cheaper than your copay. If that’s the case, we’ll let you know the different pricing options so you can make an informed choice.

How does Alto find the lowest price?

By checking every available savings option, automatically, every time! Unlike traditional pharmacies, Alto is proactive about applying potential sources of savings like manufacturer coupons, patient assistant programs, and copay cards wherever applicable. We’ll automatically start looking for these opportunities the minute we receive your prescription, and we’ll keep you informed of any savings options that require you to apply directly with the program or manufacturer.

Learn more about how Alto saves you money on your prescriptions.

What if my medication is too expensive?

Here’s another way we’re different from traditional pharmacies: we’ll continue searching for less expensive medication options even after we’ve researched savings opportunities.  You’re in the driver’s seat, and if you would like support in identifying other medication options that may be covered by your insurance at better rates, we’ll work with your doctor to evaluate those choices.

Insurance companies categorize medications into tiers based on various factors such as whether the medications are generic or brand-name and how frequently they are prescribed. Medications in higher tiers generally include non-preferred brands and specialty medications for rare conditions, and these typically cost more than medications from a lower formulary tier.

Keep in mind that generic medications use the same active ingredients as their brand-name counterparts, and they must meet the same standards for safety, quality, and results in order to get FDA approval.

I’ve heard of an insurance “formulary.” What does that mean?

Every health insurance plan has a list of covered generic and brand-name medications, called a formulary, which you can locate online or by calling your plan. It includes the tiers mentioned above, indicating which medications are preferred by your insurer and therefore offered at a lower out-of-pocket cost.

When deciding whether to renew your current health insurance coverage or select a different plan for the new year, you may want to check the formularies to determine if your current medications will be covered. Read our previous blog to learn more about what to consider when reviewing insurance coverage options every year.

What if my insurance denies coverage of my medication?

If a medication isn’t on the formulary at all, you may have the option of submitting a prior authorization to prove the medical necessity of the medication and gain coverage from your insurance plan.

If a prior authorization is needed, we can work with your doctor to submit the necessary paperwork. We’ll keep both you and your doctor in the loop throughout the process so you know the current status of the request until your insurance provider has made a decision. If your prior authorization request is denied, we will work with your doctor to either process an appeal or find a different treatment option.

Read our previous post, ‘What is a Prior Authorization?’ to learn more about how Alto can help you navigate this process.

A pharmacy partner that’s always on your side

At Alto, we go above and beyond to help you stay on track with your doctor’s recommendations, getting you the medication you need at the best price possible.

Switch to a better pharmacy for free same-day delivery and support with insurance and savings opportunities. Reach out any time by phone at 1-800-874-5881 or in-app messaging.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.