Effective March 1st, our medical insurance was changed by my husband's employer to a new company, a cheaper version of insurance coverage and one which will require us to fill our prescriptions only by Target, Walmart or Costco. Otherwise, this new company will not honor or cover our needed RX's. It is still not certain they will cover or partially cover some of them at all. That is yet to be determined.
We are effectively covered but do not have our insurance cards, I.D.'s or group numbers, etc., that are necessary for us to be seen by our physicians or to have on-going prescriptions filled, under the coverage of our "new" insurance company. This is a new reality for us and certainly not the end of the world. Sooner than later, we will have our necessary documents to continue seeing our doctors, filling our long time addicting drugs under the new coverage, once approved, without which we could not exist! This, according to the hundreds of daily television ads for life saving drugs is for everything that ails us, from head to toe. "There is a drug for that."
Ours, is hardly a big dilema, when so many households and individuals have absolutely no medical coverage at all! We are grateful, those of us who do have employer paid medical benefits, for sure. A mere inconvenience is all. One does wonder what would happen in the interim, however, if there was an accident or medical emergency with the ensuing stall for the paperwork, red tape and sign-in protocol at the emergency room. Could be a veritable nightmare. Perish the thought!
My husband, the insured, asked this question of the insurance rep for his company, who is handling this "transition." The answer was quite simple. "You pay out of pocket and then fill out a claim to be reimbursed, which may or may not be covered" by the "new" insurance until investigated. Well, then, we'd sure better be careful not to get hurt or sick, have a car accident or go into cardiac arrest until the "new" cards arrive. Check. Got it. We'll be very careful.
Having used a nationally recognized mega drug store chain for our prescriptions for nearly two decades, we were informed we can no longer use them for our refills. OK. No more convenience of the corner drug store near our home. Will now need to drive over half an hour away to the nearest approved drug counter. Or, go on line to have the scripts filled. Will look into that as well.
First phone call was to Costco to confirm they carry all the RX medications we require, including my NBHRT, natural bio-identical hormone replacement therapy meds. Don't question my use of these. You don't want to see a raving sleep deprived, sweaty, emotionally strung out woman without them. Trust me on this. They make me feel really good. Leave it at that.
First question to the Costco pharmacist was to request their costs for said drugs, particularly, the hormone replacement which is soon to run out. She told me it will cost $120 for 30 pills, less the Costco discount, once I come in and sign a form and provide my Costco membership number. Easy enough. She provided some other costs relative to our medications, which I noted and hung up.
Second phone call was to our current drug store pharmacist for the same information for comparative purposes. I'm thinking they will undoubtedly be higher but wasn't prepared for the disparity in costs. This one particular RX would be...and the pharmacist prefaced his response with, "You are not going to believe this when I tell you, but it will cost you $800 and change a month for just this one." In utter disbelief and shock, I dared to ask, "Are you serious? Are you sure!?" He confirmed it was the correct cost, so I told him what Costco quoted me. He very apologetically explained to me that the enormous cost difference was due to the fact that major drug chains are "profit centers," whereas, Costco is not. So, I did a little quick math and realized with an even bigger lump in my gut, that the pharma companies and the retail outlets where their RX's are sold, are both obscene profit centers!
I realized first hand and for the first time in my medically covered life, just how much excess profit there is in prescription drugs and was struck by the horrifying truth. Pure and simple, this is just so wrong. I felt instantly guilty for not knowing this, yet how could I have? It was always just billed to our insurance company, less the co-pays, which I will never, ever complain about again in my lifetime.
Goodness, gracious, did I ever get a wake up call and major reality check! Never again, will I fill a prescription anywhere else other than a non-profit pharmacy. I had no idea there was such a thing. Apparently, the big box warehouse clubs, the one's with pharmacy centers, are non-profit and provide a tremendous service and savings, both to the insurance companies and to it's members.
So, before I go through a nasty withdrawal from my daily meds, I am headed up the road a piece, to sign a form and retrieve my life saving RX, to ensure another restful night's sleep without suffering the ravages of menopause.
So I ask you: What did we ever do...back in the "olden days," before prescription drugs?
(Those Cherokee women must have been wound tighter than a tee pee)!
Do you know where all the profits in drugs are going and all in the name of "wellness?"