PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Decline of Benefits

If you don't want to read a rant about healthcare & insurance, then just keep on truckin'. Go look at Cuteness or KrazyKats. (seriously, I've had that Cute Overload pug in my bloglines since January, just for the laugh!)

I remember when your pharmacist not only looked at the other drugs you were taking, but thought about things, and gave you a recommendation or consultation whether you asked for it or not. As an aside to this rant, there IS a pharmacist at the Ward Parkway Target, who is flat-out phenomenal, and I want her to move into my house and give me advice all the time. But of course, I do my prescriptions through mail order (so as to save money) and therefore, for all I know, well-trained monkeys who managed to survive medical testing are filling and dispensing my prescriptions. Actually, given my recent experiences, I think I may have just insulted the monkeys.

Two months ago, my doctor phoned in a prescription, and the WHOLE POINT of using mail-order is to get a 90-day supply for the price of 60. Do people use the mail order for just one month's worth? I didn't think so, and you would think it might red-flag something, especially on a prescription that had been filled before at the higher quantity. Well, my doctor's nurse screwed up and only ordered 30 days' worth. A call to the insurance company put the blame back on the doctor. And my doctor's office called, multiple times, to ask them to issue the remaining 60 days' worth of medication, but they told them it was THEIR fault and they dispensed it as ordered, and there was nothing they could do. (See how deftly that works? They are responsible to... no one!) The very fact that my doctor's office called me three times to apologize and own their part of the mistake, and the fact it's a generic, made me go, ok, I'm not going to raise holy hell over this, and it's proving once again that our friends in the insurance industry aren't really our friends. (Such a life theme to learn!)

But what really gets me is this last Rx. It's for an acne skin creme, because even as I approach 40, I still get to keep the joyful skin of my 16-year old self. I ran out, and I anxiously awaited the refill - my doctor's office called me to confirm what I wanted, and the form I usually got it in (jar or pump? Jar, please.) And I waited. And waited. So I logged on and saw the order was in some "suspended" state. I call the insurance company. It went a little like this:

Me: Yes, I'm calling to find out what's happening with this prescription.
Them: We are waiting for more information from your doctor.
Me: Huh? What do you mean? What information?
Them: Well, they wrote the prescription for "Benzaclin jar 90 day supply."
Me: Ok.... so what's the issue.
Them: Well, the pharmacist doesn't know how many doses are in a jar. They don't know how many jars to send. This could read as 90 jars.
Me: (Silence. Dumfounded.)
Me: So, usually I get 3 jars, you know, for 3 months. (Imagining myself with 90 jars and restraining laughter at the absurdity of it all.)
Them: (hostile tone) You go through ONE JAR a month? (a jar is... 25 grams. Just under one ounce. This is not a vat of cold cream, people.)
Me: (fuck-you tone) YES.
Them: Well, the pharmacist has to talk to your doctor.
Me: Have you told my doctor this?
Them: They have notified the office they need more information.
(This is a common response - FYI, if an insurance company tells you they have done this? It usually means they haven't. I'm not kidding when I say that I believe my doctor's office does everything in their power for their patients, and if I leave a message for ANYone there at any time, I get a call back the same day. If the insurance company tells me they've contacted my doctor, that means they gave the note to the rabbits the medical-tested monkeys stole on their way outta dodge, and it was promptly shredded. While someone laughed, maniacally.)
Me: Let me alert them to this.
And then they give me the doctor-only phone number, WITH an admonishment that it's a phone line only for the doctor to use, I could almost hear the unspoken warning, "Don't you think you can use that line to circumvent our intricate answering machine greeting, little bitch."

So now it looks like things have been straightened out, and I am pretty sure I'm not getting a freight delivery of 90 jars of Benzaclin, but it's reinforced - once again - that the only person really looking out for me? Is me.

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posted by PlazaJen, 2:18 PM