A Prescription for Disaster

Honestly, I’m grateful to have good health insurance, incorporating a good prescription drug plan. I realize a lot of people don’t have that. My wife has an identical plan. Each of us gets family health insurance through our employer. So in one instance, my insurance is too good because I have two accounts.

We switched prescription drug providers in January and the new one has a slightly smaller benefit in that if you get a prescription for a maintenance drug (one you’re supposed to take every day) you’ve never taken before, they send you a 30 day supply instead of a 90 day supply. I suppose this makes sense because if you have unbearable side effects, you won’t have to thrown away a lot of medicine. It does cost me a little more for a new drug though because they charge me a co-payment for each prescription filled, not for the number of pills I receive.

But my problem is that with two accounts all my prescriptions seem to wind up being new whether they are new or for drugs I’ve taken for anywhere from three to 20 years. Let’s say I take Victoza for diabetes and I’ve been taking it for three years. I’d prefer to take no drugs at all, but I am a diabetic and I don’t want to die so Victoza isn’t the only prescription drug I take every day. I got a 90 day supply of it in April and my doctor wrote a replacement prescription in July. They decided to fill the replacement prescription from my other account and charge a co-pay for 30 days worth instead of 90 days worth. In the case of Victoza, the co-pay is substantial so doing this raises their costs and my costs too.

They’ve also started giving me incorrect information about the problem. They told me my doctor wrote a prescription for a 30-day supply. In fact, they told me he wrote two prescriptions for a 30 day supply. No he didn’t. I asked them for a copy of what he sent them. They sent me one prescription for a 90 day supply, but they now insist it’s a new prescription, so they’ll only give me 30-days worth. I’ve spoken to at least seven customer service representatives Some of them have promised to clear it up. Some of them have actually helped me for one prescription. Some of them have told me things that just aren’t true. Are they lying? Maybe, or maybe they’re just repeating misinformation someone else put in the computer. In my career, I’ve had more than one job where being correct is not an acceptable excuse. It’s frustrating, believe me, but it doesn’t compare with being insured, being right and having that not be an acceptable excuse either.

I’m currently experiencing this problem with two of my medicines. I’ve experienced it with other medicines too, just not right now. I can only think of three possible explanations, but I hope there are others. My three are jaw-dropping incompetence on the part of everyone I’ve dealt with at the mail-order pharmacy, deliberate fraud, or a combination of the two. If they were jaw-droppingly incompetent across the board, I figure they would have hired someone who could solve the problem, just by mistake. I was told on July 8th that one of my problems would be straightened out and my doctor was told on July 17th that the other one would also be fixed. Sunday night, according to their website, the first problem is more messed up than ever. I’m scheduled for two renewals on Wednesday. The second problem isn’t even in the pipeline.

While they have yet to solve the problem, they finally did cause me to lose my temper on Thursday. I’m not proud of myself, but I certainly feel I had plenty of justification. Sisyphus would understand. He wouldn’t approve, but he would understand. Looks like I’m going to have to call them again. I dread that. Exactly what I’m going to call them this time, I haven’t decided yet. I wish SSG Mebane was still around. My old drill sergeant could certainly think of something creative to call them. He thought of enough creative things to call me when I was in Basic Training.

I’m not going to give up. I have written to the chairman of the NY State Senate’s Health Committee. If that doesn’t work, I guess I’ll check in with the consumer reporter for one or more of New York’s TV stations and also shame them by name right here in this blog. If you’ve read this blog for more than say four days, you may already be able go guess. Right now, if the readership of this blog is in the single digits, the digit I have reserved for my mail-order prescription provider is a middle one. Maybe two middle ones.

Author: Tom

I know my ABC's, I can write my name and I can count to a hundred.