In the United States, prescription medication can be expensive, especially if you don’t have insurance. Costco boasts low prices on many bulk-sized items, from sheet cakes to t-shirts, but did you know these stores also house pharmacies?
Indeed, you can get your prescriptions filled at Costco, but if you’ve never tried it before, you may wonder how Costco’s pharmacy operates. If so, keep reading for 15 things to know before visiting the Costco pharmacy!
15 Things to Know Before Visiting Costco Pharmacy In 2023
1. Membership Is Not Required at the Costco Pharmacy
Savvy shoppers know that you don’t necessarily have to be a Costco member (which costs $60 or $120 per year, annually) to shop certain items at the store.
Fortunately, non-members can take advantage of Costco’s competitive prescription drug pricing structure.
In fact, Clark.com reports that some Costco warehouse stores have non-member entrances to the pharmacies, which makes getting in and out hassle-free.
2. It’s Pretty Hard to Beat Costco Pharmacy Prices
Costco maintains a reputation for stocking merchandise with lower prices than you’d normally find in a grocery store or even discount retailers.
Therefore, it fits that Clark.com and Rather-Be-Shopping.com cited a 2018 study by Consumer Reports which found Costco ranked among the very best outlets for prescription drugs.
While HealthWarehouse.com (an online-only prescription filler) took the top spot, Costco came in second, hundreds of dollars less than even Sam’s Club and Walmart.
When compared to more expensive drug stores, like Rite Aid and CVS, there was no competition at all.
For example, a group of drugs that cost only $105 at Costco topped $800 and $900 at the big-name drug stores.
3. Prices Are Even Better if You’re a Member of the Costco Membership Prescription Program
If you’re a Costco member, you’re eligible to join (for free) the Costco Membership Prescription Program Discount Card, or PPDC.
This program offers further discounts on Costco’s already-affordable prescription drug prices, anywhere from two percent to 40 percent.
While a membership isn’t health insurance, it can help cover gaps in customers’ health insurance plans.
For example, if you needed a fill on a drug that your health insurance doesn’t cover or barely covers, as a PPDC member, you could still pay less.
4. You Can Get Immunizations at the Costco Pharmacy
Like most drug stores, Costco pharmacy also offers immunizations, including the flu shot, Hepatitis A and B, HPV, Meningitis (important for college students starting their freshman year), Shingles, Tdap and more.
The pharmacy at Costco also offers vaccinations for certain viruses.
Additionally, if you’re traveling abroad and require your immunizations to be up-to-date, Costco pharmacy can help you there.
5. Are You Curious if Costco Pharmacy Accepts Your Insurance? Give Your Local Store a Call!
When First Quarter Finance attempted to obtain a list of health insurances that Costco pharmacy accepts, the company stayed quiet.
Citing vendor confidentiality, it would not elaborate on the statement that Costco accepts “most” health insurance plans.
Therefore, the best way to find out if your insurance is accepted at Costco is to call and ask your local Costco location.
6. Most or All Costco Pharmacy Locations Don’t Accept Medicaid
Unfortunately, it appears that most or all Costco pharmacy locations do not accept Medicaid, which is a public health insurance option for lower-income Americans.
There may be a number of reasons for this policy, a possible reason being that Costco prices are already quite low.
Further, members of Medicaid (and Medicare, the government-subsidized health insurance for seniors) are also not eligible for the Prescription Discount Program.
7. Costco Pharmacy Performs Medication Compounding
The practice of compounding medication to create super-individualized medicinal treatment can actually be performed by the pharmacists at Costco.
They can customize compound prescriptions based on dietary preferences and even flavors for children.
8. Costco Pharmacy Also Fills Prescriptions Online
While most doctor’s offices will call in a prescription, you can also request your prescription fill at Costco via the internet.
At Costco.com or using the Costco mobile app, you can submit your prescription request and manage your Rx account from the palm of your hand.
9. You Can Even Get Medication Delivered Rather Than Visit the Costco Pharmacy In-Store
Perhaps best of all, especially for patients who have mobility issues, you can order from the Costco pharmacy and have your medication delivered the same day.
Since 2020, Costco’s partnership with Instacart includes home delivery of prescription drugs within hours, and it’s even available for non-members.
You can find more information about prescription drug delivery from Costco here.
10. Be Prepared for Potential Long Waits Via the Costco Pharmacy
If there was one complaint that stands out about Costco’s pharmacies, it’s that sometimes the wait can be quite long.
Rather-Be-Shopping reports that this can occur for new prescriptions in particular, where the pharmacy has to contact the doctor’s office for authorization first.
However, it also applies to the long lines at the physical pharmacy as well. Therefore, to avoid lines, your best bet is to submit the prescription online or have your doctor’s office call it in.
11. You Can Transfer Your Costco Pharmacy Prescription to Another Store – Even Mid-Refill
If you have an automatic refill on a prescription coming up but you have moved or prefer to visit a different store, you can actually transfer the prescription with Costco’s mobile app.
As well, if you have received a text saying that your refill is ready, but you don’t want to pick it up at the usual store, you can call it in and request a transfer.
12. It’s Easy To Cancel Auto Refills At Costco Pharmacy
Auto refills are designed to make everyone’s life easier, but if you find that you are no longer in need of medication, you can cancel it.
While requesting refills at Costco pharmacy is easy, you will have to call in and ask to speak with the pharmacist rather than an assistant.
This rule is in place because, legally, the pharmacist “is the only person who can access your record.”
Therefore, simply request the autofill cancel and they will be able to perform that while you’re on the phone.
13. Sign up for Costco Pharmacy Text Reminders
You can sign up for text reminders from Costco’s pharmacy, so that your mobile phone reminds you of your important task.
Costco pharmacy uses text not only to inform, but sometimes to communicate back and forth.
For example, they might ask you a yes/no question, to which you might respond with Y or N.
If you accidentally cancel your text reminders, you can reactivate them by simply responding to the text conversation with your Rx number.
14. You Have Two Weeks to Pick up Your Costco Pharmacy Prescription
If you can’t pick up your prescription at the given time or day, Costco will hold your prescription for up to two weeks.
If two weeks have gone by and you need your medication, give the pharmacy a call or stop in, and they will make every attempt to rectify the situation.
15. Costco Pharmacy Fills More Than Human Medications
Costco fills not only human medication, but also fills prescriptions for animals.
Additionally, pets are technically considered dependents at Costco’s pharmacy, so if you’re a member of the CMPP, eligible pet medications are also covered.
You can find more information, including a list of some of the most popular pet medications that the Costco pharmacy carries, here.
If you want to learn more, you can also see our posts on whether or not Costco delivers prescriptions, if Costco fills pet prescription, and the Costco pharmacist job.
Costco pharmacy is an affordable place to get your prescription refilled, and if you are a member, you can save even more with the Costco Membership Prescription Program. Costco pharmacy also carries a wide variety of pet medications, which are also covered under the CMPP.