I need to find another pharmacy. Or else I need to stop having medical insurance. Or perhaps I need to find a more cost-sensitive dermatologist.
Went to Fred Meyer last week to fill a prescription. Antibiotic. Was told they needed some sort of approval before they could fill the prescription. Had to contact my doctor. Come back in a few days.
So I went back a few days later. By now, I’d run out of the free samples. Was told, well, that the medication is pretty expensive, and apparently my insurance didn’t cover it, so the doctor gave me a coupon of some sort. And I didn’t have the coupon with me. So I should probably come back.
A few days later, I go back. Different pharmacy tech.
“Can I help you?”
“Yeah. I have a prescription to pick up.”
“Name and date of birth?”
“Ah. There’s a problem. We need prior authorization.”
“So you didn’t get the prescription order from the doctor?”
“No, we got that. We need authorization from the insurance company.”
“No, you see the prescription isn’t covered by insurance.”
“Are you sure? It’s really expensive. And usually covered.”
“I spoke with the doctor about this. She said it isn’t covered.”
“Isn’t she even going to try?”
“Oh, it says here you have a coupon.”
“I do.” I hand it to her.
“It says here that you can’t use this coupon if you don’t have medical insurance.”
“I have medical insurance. It just doesn’t cover this medication. If it did cover this medication, I wouldn’t need the coupon, now would it?”
“Perhaps I could prescribe you a different medication that does the same thing but is covered by your insurance.”
“Wait, you’re a doctor?”
“No. Just a pharmacy technician. What I meant was you could ask your doctor to prescribe something different. After all, this particular medicine is very expensive.”
“So you said. Just how expensive?”
“I can’t tell you. You should go talk to your doctor again about your insurance covering this medication. Or perhaps a different medicine.”
At this point, I walk away. Before I start throwing things at this person, or setting fire to the grocery store.
Question: who is at fault? Is this my fault, for being so meek? The pharmacist’s fault, for being so stupid? The doctor’s fault, for prescribing an expensive medicine that my insurance doesn’t cover? Or the insurance company’s fault for bloating beyond the insurance industry into medical rationing?