So I’m at my doctor’s office today for a few things, and I mention that my back went out on me several days ago, and it’s been fairly painful.
He asked what I was doing, and I told him I wasn’t doing much butt staying off my feet and taking Ibuprofen. He looked through my charts and said, “No Flexeril?” (That’s a muscle-relaxant I’ve used for these attacks in the past).
No, I ran out.
So he prescribed me a bottle of a hundred. It takes me three years or so to go through that many, but I like to keep some around.
Anyhoo, I hie myself across the street with my prescription and present it to the nice young (20-something) lady behind the counter, then take a seat and wait for them to fill it.
After several minutes she comes out, bends over me and whispers, “Your insurance company won’t pay for this.”
Eh, what? They always have before.
“They have it listed as being high risk for a person your age.”
I asked her how much without insurance and she told me seventy bucks.”
“Fine,” I said. ”Wrap it up.”
She stared at me as if I’d suggested she perform fellatio on me right then and there.
“But sir,” she said. ”Your insurance won’t pay.”
“Yes, I got that. I’ll pay. Go ahead and fill it.”
She startd to say something, stopped, and retreated back behind her counter. A moment later she said, “Sir, could you come over here?”
I came up to the counter where she had turned her screen around so I could see it. She said, “See, right here. They say it’s dangerous. I can’t give it to you.”
Now it was my turn to stare. ”What? I told you, I’m paying. That cuts the insurance company out of the deal entirely. I have a prescription from my own physician, and I’m paying for it out of my own pocket. What does the insurance company have to do with it?”
She was shaking her head. Apparently the thought that a patient would go against the wishes – would be permitted to go against the wishes – of the almighty insurance company was so foreign to her mindset that she simply couldn’t understand the concept.
Luckily, the pharmacist had begun listening in (I may have started to raise my voice just a slight bit) and he said, “Just fill his prescription.”
“But…but…the insurance company…”
“It’s his money and his doctor,” he told her. ”Just give him what he wants.”
So she did.
But I’ll bet she still thinks there was something illegal or immoral about me being able to buy a prescribed medication that wasn’t approved for me by my insurance company.
And I’m wondering how long it will be before insurance companies – or the government, via Obamacare – is able to tell you what you can, and can’t spend your own money on.
I’m fairly sure this young lady would have had an equal problem with the notion that my own doctor of twenty years would have a better handle on my meds that the facelss insurance company who knows little or nothing about me, personally, at all, in its one-size-fits-all decisions regarding my health care.
What really bothers me is that I suspect most patients would simply have taken her at her word, and foregone the meds their own doctor prescribed for them.
And that is sad. And maybe dangerous.