Allergic to the System

2010 will go down in history as the year that our healthcare system just pissed me right off.

There’s way too much to say in just one post, of course, so I’ll just talk about prescriptions today, since that’s the most recent offense.  I take a couple different prescription medications every day.  This fact alone doesn’t bother me.  Sometimes, the combined cost of these prescriptions can be a significant chunk of my monthly budget, but everyone is much happier when I’m taking them all, so it’s worth it.  And now…

Mego’s Prescriptions, a Story in 2 Parts

Part I

About a year ago, my doctor changed one of my prescriptions.  She called in the New Drug prescription to my pharmacy.  I went to the counter a few days later to pick it up and they gave me a generic, as they are wont to do.  It cost me about $60 for a month’s worth, which seemed outrageous.  The man at the counter told me my insurance didn’t cover it and that I should take it up with them.

So I did.  I called my insurance company (insurance I got through my job, where I worked for a hospital foundation) and they told me the generic wasn’t covered, but the name brand was.  So, the following month, when I filled the prescription, I specifically requested the name brand.  It cost me $10.

Part II

I’ve been taking Allegra-D for a couple years for my allergies.  In the old days, I would just buy over-the-counter Claritin-D, or even regular Claritin and some Sudafed.  In Oregon, though, it’s now impossible to get Pseudoephedrine over-the-counter.  So my doctor prescribes 24-hour Allegra-D and I get what I need from the pharmacy.  Even with my pretty good insurance through the old job, the Allegra-D was still my most expensive prescription at $40/month.

Now that I’m a student, I have very basic student insurance with no prescription coverage.  This past Saturday I ran out of allergy medicine, so I called the pharmacy for a refill.  I told the pharmacist I had lost my prescription coverage since the last refill, so I’d be paying out of pocket.  He then informed me that I would be paying $166 for 30 pills and asked if I was okay with that.  I told him I’d call him back.

Today, when my doctor’s office opened, I called and left a message with someone explaining the situation and asking for a new allergy prescription that wasn’t as expensive.  Claritin-D, Sudafed plain, whatever works – I just want it to be cheaper.  They called me back this evening and said there were two separate prescriptions waiting for me at the pharmacy for the fexofenadine (the Allegra part) and the Pseudoephedrine (the “-D” part).  Great, right?

I just got back from the pharmacy, where they only had the fexofenadine ready, which came to $267 total.  I said thanks, but no thanks.

This is such a messed up system.

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1 Comment

Filed under Bleeding-Heart Liberal

One response to “Allergic to the System

  1. The VERY SAME thing as scenario #1 happened to me last week. The doctor was trying to save me money by prescribing generic, but it wasn’t covered by my insurance, so I had to come back the next day and get the name brand. Of course all of this happened with a giant queue of people behind me and three pharmacists’ assistants standing in front of the computer, trying to decipher the insurance requirements.

    Best part: The prescription was for birth control, and at one point the pharmacy person said, “Is there a reason your doctor is prescribing you this particular drug?” Um…

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