Tuesday, November 15, 2011

$25 to transfer Rx to Kroger or Giant Eagle (without coupon)

It's back!  

What's better than an Rx coupon that gives you free groceries, a free gift card, or some other incentive for transferring your prescription? 
--> An incentive where no coupon is even required. Just mention the advertised deal when you are asking to have a prescription transferred and filled.

[Kroger is advertising the deal in Columbus, Ohio, but Giant Eagle stores in the area will match it!  If your pharmacist won't, ask her/him to contact their Pharmacy District Manager who told me today that they would match the offer -- without a coupon.]

This week, Kroger brought back their "no coupon needed" incentive for you to transfer prescriptions from competitors (especially Walgreens -- which on Jan. 1, 2012, will no longer honor Rx insurance from Express Scripts or Medco Health which is merging with Express Scripts). 

The top right of the front page of The Columbus Dispatch on Monday, Nov. 14, 2011, featured a Kroger ad that said you can get $25 in FREE GROCERIES when you transfer and fill a prescription at a Kroger Pharmacy (See store for details).  

A similar message recently began appearing on billboards in the area -- as shown at right (this one on an electronic board on Henderson Road).  Fine print mentions "Limited time offer.  Limitations apply."

Before the return of the "no coupon required" advertising on Monday, there were two full-page ads by Kroger in The Columbus Dispatch that did feature coupons.  So, if you prefer to transfer your prescriptions to some place more likely to want you to hand them a competitor's coupon for them to match (like CVS -- yes, they will match competitor Rx coupons), get ahold of a paper from either:

  • Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011 (back page of A section); usually available throughout the week at Giant Eagle locations and many bookstores.  (Don't bother looking at the one on Sawmill at Bethel; I bought the last 5 they had this morning.  Sorry.)
  • Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011 (back page of A section); shown below.

The advertisement in The Columbus Dispatch (on back of A section last week -- on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011) mentions:
  • ALERT!  Your insurance plan may force you to change pharmacies!
  • If your pharmacy can no longer accept your prescription insurance, Kroger is here to help.

  • We accept thousands of insurance plans.

More Rx coupons are likely to turn up during November, December and January from many pharmacies as they vie to take away the biggest share of customers from Walgreens -- especially in areas where Walgreens has a larger presence than they do in Columbus.

If you are a Walgreen's customer and are moving all of your prescriptions, you may want to do so gradually or try out a few different pharmacies -- perhaps split them up between CVS, Giant Eagle and Kroger ... but be sure you take your entire list of medications (prescription and over-the-counter) to each pharmacy so they can watch out for dangerous interactions as your doctors prescribe new meds later.

If you've been a faithful Walgreens customer who is becoming a "free agent," make sure you get some sort of "gift" -- gift card, free groceries, and/or discount on gas -- for giving a new pharmacy a chance to impress you (or not).

Many in the area will be vying for your patronage.  And they may make exceptions to their usual "daily limit" or "lifetime limit."  CVS (most locations) do not impose a limit.  Giant Eagle and Kroger both have had a "one a day limit" (at least in the past).  Kroger will sometimes impose a "lifetime limit" -- banning people from receiving any further Rx transfer credits on their KrogerPlus Card ever again (ask for a written copy of their current policy -- as they agreed to make available after the Better Business Bureau helped mediate consumer complaints.   Giant Eagle, although they will only let you use one Rx coupon per day, is fine if you want to transfer 5 prescriptions all at once and then pick up those prescriptions in 5 separate visits over 5 to 9 days.

How do you get your "free groceries"?

  • At Kroger, the $25 is added to your KrogerPlus Card (that lets them track how many times you get Rx Rewards so they can cut you off some day if you hit their arbitrary lifetime limit; or you just annoy them or whatever).
  • At Giant Eagle, they'll give you gift cards -- one $20 one and one $5 one probably (they have pre-printed Rx gift cards in those denominations).
  • At CVS, they'll give you a $25 gift card.  (If you're redeeming more than one coupon at a time, some pharmacists/techs will be able to put the multiple $25 amounts on a single card.)
NOTE: Don't waste your time going to Kmart or Target with this coupon.  They no longer accept competitor coupons (Target has been that way for quite a while now; Kmart just recently changed their stance).  Kmart has also not published any of their own coupons in the Columbus area for a long time.  And it's almost as bad as the pharmacy at Meijer in terms of awful customer service ... plus they are open very limited hours (close at 7 each night) and not open at all on Sunday.


In case you're having to shop around because of changes in whether your favorite pharmacy will still accept your Rx insurance, let me share some tips with you that may be helpful.

I've tried many pharmacies (all listed at http://matrix.Rx4Less.net ) and have been happiest with these pharmacies in Columbus area:

  • CVS (especially the one on Henderson Road) and 
  • Giant Eagle (especially the one on Powell Road and the one at corner of Sawmill Road and Bethel Road).

What makes them better?

It's not just that these have been the best about being friendly and professional about my need to transfer prescriptions back and forth frequently -- to allow me to use Rx coupons (to help me afford the $2,000+ I spend on Rx co-pays annually ... which I know will go up to at least $2,500 in 2012 with Rx plan changes). 

It's also because most of the pharmacists who work there most often are among the most customer-friendly ones I have encountered and they are especially friendly, helpful and knowledgeable -- always willing to take time to patiently go over questions about medications and cheaper, equally-effective options that might exist that can be brought up with my physician.   Also, most of the pharmacy interns and pharmacy techs who work there better measure up to high standards of customer service -- more so than any Kroger or Meijer pharmacy I ever visited.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn't judge a pharmacy by its brand name.  My favorite pharmacy changed from being Target on Sawmill to the Giant Eagle on Powell Road when my favorite pharmacist moved there to be manager.  Although two of my favorite pharmacists were at the same CVS near my home, one left about 6 months ago and the other is retiring this month.  There's another CVS even closer to my home but I've had bad experiences with some rude pharmacy staff there.  So it's worth driving further to a location where I know I'll be treated better.  With Giant Eagle, I tried the Market District location's pharmacy while I was shopping there more often right after its newly-remodeled store opened.  But their pharmacy interns and techs (and some pharmacists) were not very good at customer service (unfortunately, the type of people who make good pharmacists don't always have the best people skills).  So try multiple brands to see which you like best for policy and how quickly they can help you (how long the wait; how overworked their staff) and whether you find their pharmacists to be friendly, helpful and knowledgeable (or whether they mostly just have young faces in those white coats -- faces that change almost as often as you bring in a new prescription ... which could mean it's a "burn 'em & churn 'em" operation that's trying to keep costs down and pay low wages and run off the more experienced pharmacists who would make more and know more).

Hope you found something helpful.



You can reach me at:
RxCoupons @ Gmail.com

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