Planning on following the birds and flying south this winter? Make sure you have your prescriptions planned before you leave!

Usually, a three-month supply or your medications is the maximum amount that an insurance provider will cover at one time. When traveling though, members often plan to leave for longer periods of time. While you may be able to fill your prescription in your winter get-away, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll be able to find the same medication at the price that you’re used to. Plus, you’d probably rather be enjoying your vacation than spending time in a pharmacy!

ARTARx allows patients to fill a vacation supply of their medications from the pharmacy before leaving. Through the travel-focused ARTA Benefit Plans, ARTA members are eligible for up to 212 days of medications at a time as a vacation supply. That’s over six months!

Additionally, the ARTARx pharmacy can help you manage your vacation supply if you are receiving coverage from more than one provider. Alberta Blue Cross (ABC) is the most common additional benefit plan for ARTA members. With ABC, you have the option of a supply of greater than 100 days for medications once per calendar year. To claim this coverage from Alberta Blue Cross, you must abide by the following rules*:

  • Available only for members leaving the province for more than 100 days.
  • One authorization per benefit period (July 1 to June 30).
  • Up to a maximum of 200 days’ supply, considering quantities on hand.
  • Available to Alberta pharmacies only.

*(information taken directly from the pharmacy reference guide)

“Considering quantities on hand” means that your total supply (including whatever you have at home) cannot be greater than 200 days worth of medication. Once the medication has billed through ABC, the remaining portion is covered by your ARTA benefits plan! If you have a primary insurance provider other than Alberta Blue Cross, you should contact that provider well in advance of your trip to confirm whether they cover vacation supplies, and under what stipulations.

Preparing vacation supplies of medications can require a bit of extra time and planning on the part of your pharmacists. We ask that you give the pharmacy no less than two weeks notice in case we need to request renewals from your physician, order a larger supply of the medication than normal, or allow for any other considerations that come with preparing a large supply of medications.

Helpful tips for traveling with medications:

  • Ensure to carry a current medication list with you that includes all medications you’ll be traveling with. ARTARx can provide one for you if needed — this is a great time to review your file and update your information and ongoing care plan.
  • All vials, boxes, and devices should be clearly labeled with your correct information.
  • If you package medications into your own cases, ensure to bring vials with labels or a medication list to identify the contents.
  • If you are traveling with narcotic medications, ensure to have a copy of the original prescription. It would also be prudent to have a letter from your doctor, especially if carrying a large quantity or multiple narcotic medications.