Sunday, August 17, 2008

I do not heart insurance

Earlier last week I spent a few days visiting my mother. I left my travel bag in her living room and so have had to improvise to get around the things I left there. Mostly, this has not been a problem. I have other clothes. I have a spare set of house keys. There is another tube of deodorant in the bathroom. I usually read several books at once, so I just picked up a one of the ones I left at home. The irreplaceable item has turned out to be an expensive prescription I need to take every day.

At first I thought I could get the pharmacy to give me a two week supply to tide me over till my next trip to Mom's. Well, they said, they could, but the insurance wouldn't pay for it. My insurance will not pay for the prescription to be filled more than once in a thirty day period. At first glance it might appear that they are trying to prevent me from doctor shopping, stockpiling a drug, and becoming a bloated and deranged drug addict like Rush Limbaugh. But a closer look at the rules show that this isn't the case. They don't prevent me from getting the drugs; they just refuse to pay for the second filling.

It took three days to sort it out so that I could get a supply to cover me till I regain the bottle I left at Mom's. The pharmacist and my doctor played phone tag and eventually figured out that a new prescription for a different dosage would be covered by the insurance. This means I have two prescriptions for the same drug. If it was an opiate, I would be well on my way to Rushdom. Unfortunately, three days was plenty of time for me to get quite sick. I worked a street fair Saturday. We're having a heat wave this weekend. By Saturday night I was stoked, dehydrated, and going through withdrawal.

Both political parties and presidential candidates support only those changes to our system of delivering medical services in this country that protect the role of the insurance companies. Why? As a consumer of health services, what do value do the insurance companies provide to me that couldn't be provided better by eliminating them and going to a single payer system?

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