• How can I possibly be paying for this?

    Holy crap.

    My medication did not arrive today.  Holy motherf***ing crap.

    How can this possible be happening?  Do they not know this medication is not optional?

    Let me recap.  I called over a week ago for a refill.  I am only allowed (by my insurance) to use the (non-local) specialty pharmacy that they own for this medication.  They told me my medication would arrive yesterday, which was the day after I’d use my last pill.  Even though that was cutting it close, that was their plan.  The meds did not arrive and I received instead a cryptic message I was lucky to catch and return. The specialty pharmacy – the only one I am permitted to use – had my medication on backorder.  And didn’t tell me until the day it was to arrive.  When it was absolutely impossible to do anything about it.  The person at the pharmacy swore it would be delivered today.

    She lied.

    I just got off the phone with them.  After being put on hold for 10 minutes, they came back and said they don’t know what happened.  It will now be here Thursday.

    I explained to them that this medication is not for fun.  I must take it.  They apologized for my inconvenience.  I told them I wanted to go to my local pharmacy and get it.  They told me to call my insurance precription plan.

    I did.  Now I know the nice woman at the end of that line isn’t to blame.  But I hate them all now.  She again apoligized for the inconvenience.

    Anyway, she suggested I get my doctor to call in an “emergency script” for a few days’ meds and then go to the local pharmacy and ask them to call the insurance company (while I wait) and fight with them to get it covered even though it’s not the specialty pharmacy I’m supposed to use.  I explained that (1) it’s 9:30 at night and my doctor is not available, (2) I have to work tomorrow and can’t stand at the pharmacy in the middle of the day while they “fight” with the insurance company, and (3) it’s all moot anyway because I’m now two days without meds and there is nothing they can do to fix that.

    Nor do I believe what any of them say anymore.

    I can’t believe how frustrated and helpless I feel.  I am playing by the rules.  I’ve missed no payments, no visits, no deadlines.  They are keeping me from my necessary treatment by forcing me to use a pharmacy that runs out of meds, lies about it, does not inform me, and then does not have a solution.

    This is not an “inconvenience”.  I’m being hurt – literally.  They are denying me the medication I need to stay healthy.  Them.  Denying me.  It’s not an inconvenience.  It’s an assault.

    P.S. I do appreciate the comments and emails I have gotten from many of you expressing sympathy.  I will be OK.  I just can’t believe this is possible, and I’m forced to wonder how many others it happens to regularly.

    P.P.S. Some of you have suggested that I name the entities involved here.  I’m not going to because they actually seem to be holding my life in their hands, and I don’t actually trust them right now.

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    • Attorney time! Surely there’s a breach of contract or negligence somewhere to pursue.

    • Or, is there an assault charge?

      Here’s hoping you’re able to get this fixed ASAP…

    • Look, either this is a serious health issue or its not.

      If its not, you can spend a lot of energy getting mad and writing about it, do a lot of bloviating about lawsuits and whatnot.

      If you are concerned about your health you can solve the problem.

      1. get your doctor to write a proscription, go to the pharmacy and buy a few pills to tide you over.

      2. ask your doctor for a few pills, they get them free pretty often.

      3. stockpile meds. never throw out old meds, but be aware of how long until they expire.

      4. whenever you get a new proscription, ask the dr. if he has any on hand that he can give you.

      Make everybody in the medical delivery system your partner in dealing with a vastly dysfunctional bureaucracy, kind of like living under communism. Save the anger for your blog.

      This is all from a person who dealt successfully with a serious illness and got great medical care.

      Good luck and get your meds.

    • @Brian: The stockpiling argument works for some drugs. But it’s not always simple. I do not know what Dr. Caroll needs to take but there are a number of classes of drugs where stockpiling is difficult.

      Chronic pain, for example, is a classic one. It could be caused by a traumatic injury (bicycle accident) and thuis meet the classic definition of a rare but serious event (similar to a car accident). Walking around in severe pain is extremely unpleasant; it may not be life threatening but it sure isn’t an inconvenience.

      And this isn’t to pick on one class of medications or indication. There are a lot of diseases where missing medications can be an issue (think Sickle Cell disease or a viral infection from a blood transfusion) where this set-up is a problem.

      Heck, imagine an antibiotic to treat a cellutitis infection — for people who are vulnerable a 2 day delay would simply mean hospitalization (with all of the extra costs).

      Sure, you could go to a medical doctor for an emergency prescription but I think one of the issues here is efficiency. How is a system efficient if it can’t manage inventory and incurs (expensive) medical doctor visits plus processing insurance rebate paperwork?

      However, in the absence of free market conditions, you can’t easily change your health provider (which often comes with the insurance company).

    • This is why there are so many lawsuits in this country. The only way you can get any justice is to sue the insurance company.

    • This is on of the reasons many prefer very high deductible health insurance policies, less fighting with he insurer.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/09/how-american-health-care-killed-my-father/7617/

    • How far are you from the Canadian border?