Mail-Order Prescription Drug Benefits

Mail-Order Drugs

Some prescriptions can be ordered online and delivered to your home or office. Find out how your Columbia benefits can save you time and money in addition to supporting your health.

Learn more about the Columbia University Prescription Drug plan: Go to the Health & Welfare Benefits page and choose the tab that corresponds to your employment group—then select “Prescription Drug.”

Accessing Your Benefits

If you enroll in a Columbia University medical plan, you have prescription drug coverage through OptumRx. Your UHC ID card includes both medical and prescription drug plan information.

You can buy prescriptions at any pharmacy you wish, but you will likely pay more if you go outside the OptumRx network. The cost of prescriptions depends on a number of factors, including the medical plan in which you are enrolled and whether a drug is generic, single-source or multi-source. To find out if your pharmacy is in the network, log in to and choose “MANAGE YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS” then “GO TO OPTUMRX.”

When filling a prescription for a medication that you’ll take one time or short-term, using a local pharmacy (Duane Reade, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Costco, etc.) is the way to go.

How It Works

If you take long-term or maintenance medication —such as for the ongoing treatment of diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, depression or other behavioral health conditions—using OptumRx’s mail-order program will cost you less for most drugs.

Plus, mail-order offers the convenience of free delivery to your home or work, so you won’t need to make a trip to the pharmacy during bad weather or carve out time on a busy day.

Although you are not required to use mail-order, doing so has several advantages in addition to cost savings:

Safety and quality

  • Prescriptions filled by OptumRx undergo as many as 16 quality checks before they’re sent to you.
  • Whether you fill a prescription at a local store or via mail order, a licensed pharmacist physically checks every prescription. (It’s the law.)

Pharmacists on call

  • Get answers to your questions. Call 800-232-9357 to speak with a pharmacist day or night, 24/7.

Easy tracking

  • The website makes it easy to track your prescription status, transfer current prescriptions to mail-order, compare drug costs, download forms and more.
  • You can also sign up to receive texts and emails to remind you to take your medication and order refills.

To enroll in the mail-order program, use one of the following options:

Online registration: Log in to; select “MANAGE YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS” then “GO TO OPTUMRX;” register and follow the step-by-step instructions. Manage your medication(s) online, including filling new prescriptions and transferring other prescriptions to home delivery. You can set up text message reminders to help manage your medication schedule. Be sure to have your UHC ID card and medication bottles on hand.

Telephone: Call 800-232-9357 on the back of your UHC ID card to speak with a customer service representative. It’s helpful to have both your UHC ID card and most recent prescription bottle to help answer questions. The representative can contact your doctor directly if you need a new prescription.

Regular mail: Ask your doctor for a new prescription for up to a three-month supply, plus refills for up to one year. Then go to and download the new prescription order form. Mail it to the address provided on the bottom of the form.

Fax/ePrescribe: Ask your doctor to call 1-800-791-7658 for instructions on how to fax your prescription directly to OptumRx. Or your doctor can send an electronic prescription to OptumRx.

To transfer an existing prescription, call OptumRx at the number on the back of your UHC ID card. Have your card and prescription bottle on hand for the call.

Important Notice

Plan Ahead

It can take up to 2 weeks to receive your first prescription through mail order. Refills typically take one week.