Argh… Or, Why I Didn’t Get My Sermon Written This Morning

I’m trying out the practice of working from home on Thursday mornings, in an attempt to give myself a full morning with limited distractions in which to write my sermon. If I get my sermon finished – or at least preachable – by Thursday afternoon, I can actually enjoy my Friday and Saturday and spend time with my family. It’s worked the last several weeks, and I had high hopes for today.

Instead, I’ve spent much of the morning on the phone and/or fuming about a mix-up with a prescription I received from the mail-order pharmacy which my insurance company insists I use. It was supposed to be free. I got charged $75.00.

Here’s what happened. I’d gotten this prescription several months ago, and had it filled at the drug store near our house. It’s just a vitamin; something I could buy over the counter, except that this one is reportedly better, and supposedly, cheaper. The first time I picked it up, it was ridiculously expensive – more than a dollar a pill – so I asked if there was a cheaper alternative. There was, and I switched, continuing to have it refilled each month.

I knew all along that the mail order option was out there, and that it was probably cheaper, but I liked going into the pharmacy and knowing I had someone I could ask if I had questions. (Plus, I’ve come to appreciate errands like going to the drug store or depositing check at the bank. It’s something specific and finish-able that I can  say I accomplished; most of my to-do list is pretty vague and never actually gets done.) And I didn’t really mind the small monthly co-pay.

That is, until last month, when the co-pay doubled, for no apparent reason. When I called my insurance company they told me that since it’s a long-term medication (it’s just a vitamin!), I had to get it through the mail if I wanted the lower rate. In fact, they said, I could have the first 90-day-supply free. Fine, I grumped, and agreed.

It’s too late for this very long story to be short, but the end result was that I had to ask my doctor to send the prescription to the mail-order pharmacy, but she sent the original name-brand prescription instead of the generic, which they sent on to me, charging me the much higher rate. The pharmacy people say they’re just following doctor’s orders and refuse to give me a refund; the doctor’s office has yet to call me back.

I know, I know: I should let it go and be thankful that I have insurance at all, and need no stronger medication than a vitamin. And I am. But really, there’s got to be something wrong with a system that includes a disincentive for me to support a local store or to talk directly to the pharmacist who dispenses the medication.

And now, with that particular rant over, I turn back to the task at hand. The text for Sunday: The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it…. I suppose that also includes customer service representatives at mail-order pharmacies.




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