Monday, January 26, 2009

The Mail Order Pharmacy

In 2009 my wonderful HMO was dropped by my employer. We switched to Empire Blue Cross and a mailorder pharmacy which shall remain nameless. Last year my insulin co-payment was $15/vial and I could pick it up at a neighborhood drugstore 2 blocks away. This year it is $25/vial and has to come in the mail.

I began researching this back in November, when we were first notified. The conversations went something like this:

K: Hi, I'm going to be on your plan in '09 and have type 1 diabetes. How is the insuln shipped?

ES: How do you spell that?

K: Spell what?

ES: Whatever it is you wanted shipped.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Well, I knew this was going to be a long process. I found out that insulin is shipped overnight in cold packs.

2nd call.

K: Hi. I,m trying to get something figured out here - I take insulin and know that you ship it overnight. I work during the day and I cannot receive personal mail at work. Whar are my options?

ES: We can leave it with a neighbor.

K: All my neighbors work too.

ES: We can leave it by the door.

K: It was below zero here today.

ES: Then you might want to be careful it doesn't freeze.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The next day I speak with my boss, who says that due to security regulations, I cannot receive personal mail at work. Maybe I should rent a mailbox.
Closest PO Boxes are 22 blocks away. Hmmmmmmm. don'tcrydon'tcrydon'tcry

A few days later I enlist the help of our company's Health Care Advocate. She says don't call ES at night as they are losers. We'll call during the day and ask to speak with a supervisor. I secretively dash into a private office at lunch and the advocate and I call, get put on hold, and soom I must return to my desk.

The next day I'm walking home from the bus and have a revelation as I go past the Fed Ex/Kinkos store in my neighborhood - maybe it could be sent there and they could hold it for me? Go in and ask the manager, who looks like he's about 12. "oh, I've never heard of that - I don't know if we can or not".

3 days later, stop in when there is a more "official" looking person behind the counter. "Sure, we do it all the time. Just have it set to youself, care of us - you can track it onlne and the day it's delivered stop by and pick it up." Whew. Problem Solved.

Call ES.
K:I would like to have my insulin shipped and held for pick up at a Fed Ex location - is that okay
ES: Well, we can't guarantee that.
E: Why not?
ES: Sometimes that doesn't work. I think you'll have to speak with the pharmacist, but they're not here at this time of night. We let them be home with their families.
K; What is a pharmacist going to be able to tell me about shipping?
ES: Just call tomorrow during regular hours.
===================================================================================
Me and the advocate call ES during the day and ask for a supervisor.

"Sure, we've done that before - just look your account up online, get the tracking number, and watch to see when it's been delivered to the store. Should work just fine?.

Well. I feel about 60% confident that this will work. One of my co-workers just told me today that they got 24 month's worth of her husband's migraine meds, when they were supposed to get 3. Luckly they were only charged for 3.

DB sure teaches us various aspects of problem solving. I feel sort of smug that I figured this out, and majorily pissed off hat I had to do it myself.

21 comments:

Zazzy said...

Fortunately there's someone around to accept mine - and if there weren't, it wouldn't be that big of a deal here since we probably will be home shortly. Our UPS guy also delivers it at the end of his route so it usually arrives around dinner time.

Frustrating that they just can't deliver it at the office. If the company is going to insist you use the mail order service they ought to make it easier for you to do so.

Rachel... said...

Ugh - our mail order delivers via USPS, which almost always fits in our mailbox or inside our door.

I wrote this and remembered the problem at hand. Bitter cold upper midwest (and soon, really it will be soon, hot humid upper midwest). Grr.

Lyrehca said...

Good luck--I think you found a good solution. I used to spend a lot of time when I worked in an office puzzling with insurance people over stuff like this, and I used to feel victorious when it all got figured out (I also had a phone where I could usually wait it out on hold). Let us know how things get delivered!

Scott K. Johnson said...

Glad you figured out some sort of solution that mostly works for you.

It is frustrating though how much time and energy you had to put into it. Those are the things that drive me batty!

Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

We should all work on the Space Shuttle, our troubleshooting skills/adaptive responses are so good ;) I dodged mail order for years for the same reasons. I'm soo lucky that my dad is retired and lives in a neighborhood where the mail service is excellent...just hope the mailman doesn't also retire anytime soon!

P.S. Thanks for remembering my birthday! :)

Molly said...

Feels familiar. I always have to remember to ask if a signature will be required, because then I have to get it delivered to work. (which fortunately, my employer is fine with) My pump just broke tonight, and a new one will be sent. It needs a signature and will be delivered on Saturday. I am afraid I might not be here when they show up on Saturday...so I had to settle to have it delivered on Monday to work. (good thing I have an old back up pump!)
Sorry you had to deal with figuring that out. Dam diabetes.

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George said...

I was cheering for you at the end. I hate insurance and I hope all works out.

This might make you feel a little better, my wife works for Kinko's and actually works. Most don't becuase they are 12 but she does.

:)

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