Adventures in insanity

I’ve detailed before how annoying it can be to get my medication. Here’s the basics again:

I have a chronic illness.  I do not have this illness because of anything I did.  There is no way I could have prevented it.  I eat right and I exercise.  I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs, and I don’t abuse alcohol.

I work hard; I have health insurance.  I pay for the premiums.  I pay all the co-pays.  I follow the rules.

For my illness, I take medication.  This medication is serious, with bad potential side effects, and it is not something you would want to take.  But, since I want to be well, I take it.

I need to refill my prescription every three months. But in order to do that, I need to have my labs drawn first. My doctor requires that some laboratory values be monitored. Let the insanity begin.

Indiana University, in its infinite wisdom, changed the health care plans for the gazillionth time on January 1. This means that the laboratory I used to have to go to (which is NOT an IU lab – crazy) is no longer covered. So I needed to search for a new lab that would qualify as in-network. Of course, that meant that the standing order I had at the old lab needed to be reissued. So I had to call my doctor and wait for them to get me a new prescription for my labs. That took a few tries, because they couldn’t understand why I needed a new prescription. But, eventually, I got it.

I went to the new laboratory this morning. I didn’t know, though, that the insurance company changed the reimbursement for labs. In the old insurance, if you went to an in-network lab, there were no co-pays. With my new insurance – which costs me more than three times what the old insurance cost – I have a personal deductible, a family deductible, and then co-insurance. When the laboratory asked me today where I stood on my deductible, I had no idea. So I just paid the entire amount. Hopefully, if I have met the deductible, the insurance company will pick that up and refund me the money.

I’m not holding my breath.

Now back to my prescription. The old insurance had already flipped me three times to different pharmacies. At last, I had wound up at a specialty pharmacy, as the medication I take is not your usual run-of-the mill drug. It is however, generic, and not crazy expensive. It’s just not easy to get.

Turns out the new insurance requires a new pharmacy. I still need to go to their mail-order option, though. I was given a website by which to get information. I went there, registered, and tried to navigate the crazy in order to learn how to order my meds.

This is a good time to point out that (1) I am an expert in health insurance and health policy, (2) I am an expert in information technology and the Internet, and (3) I’m a physician and know what I’m talking about in practicing medicine. The website nevertheless floored me. After one hour, I finally found a link by which I could request they contact my physician for a new prescription (necessary because I had to change pharmacies). But then I saw I had to tell my doctor that they were going to contact her first. So I went back and left a voicemail for my doc telling her that the call would be coming from the new pharmacy. Then I went back to the website.

New problem. I kid you not, the links on the pharmacy website are broken. They don’t go where they should. So there is no way to get the pharmacy to contact my doc to ask for a new prescription. So I’m left with a form I can download and then give to my doctor. So I went back and called her again. This time I left a voicemail asking if I could email or fax them the form so that they could fill it out and send it to the pharmacy.

It’s Friday afternoon. I’m less than optimistic that they will respond this afternoon. I even less optimistic that when I do talk to them next week that the rest of what has to happen will come off without a hitch. I need to fax my doc the form. I need them to check my labs and see that they are normal. Then, I need them to fill out the form and fax it back to the pharmacy. Then, I need the pharmacy to call me to get my address so that they can send me the drugs. They will also need to get a credit card from me, as my new much more expensive insurance carries co-insurance for drugs that I didn’t have before.

There’s no way this will go off without a hitch. I cannot believe how much time I’ve spent on this. What a waste.

Best in the world, my ass.

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