Saturday, July 8, 2006

Holy crap, it worked.

My health plan changed pharmaceutical providers.  We got all sorts of paperwork saying nothing would change.

Well, nothing except that, if you get a prescription renewed more than once at a pharmacy, they'll start charging you double for it.  Because they'd rather you use their by-mail service.  And they figure that doubling the price will, y'know, act as an incentive.

Well, now.  I have a prescription at my local pharmacy.  It has about a year's worth of renewals on it, so I drop by every month or so, give 'em my co-pay, and pick up my meds.  We have, y'know, an arrangement.

Since the health plan is going to start doubling the co-pay, our arrangement needs re-arranging.  Health plan mails me all sorts of forms that I'm supposed to submit to them with a copy of my prescription so that they'll start sending me my drugs by mail.  I have, like, zero faith that this will work.  I go the pharmacy on the last day of the old health plan and get another month's worth of drugs, figuring this will take all 30 days to get it straightened out with the mail order service.

I email my doctor.  (Yes, my doctor likes to be contacted by email.)  I explain things and ask if maybe they could mail me a copy of my prescription so's I could mail it in as directed.

Doctor's Assistant writes back that she can just fax it direct to the mail order people, and do I have my Prescription Plan ID Number? 

I look at the new and improved health plan card they sent me, and I'll be damned if I can find a Prescription Plan ID Number on it.  I email the Doctor's Assistant every number I can find on the card (Health Plan ID; Health Plan Group Number; Prescription Plan Group Number) ... hell, I even throw in my Social Security number for good measure.

Then I call the by-mail people.  I ask them how I'm s'posed to pay for these drugs since my doctor is faxing the prescription to them.  They say that if I wait a day or two (for their system to go online) I can get into their website, and put a credit card on file.  If my doc delays the prescription until I've gotten my card in there, they'll bill the card.  If they receive the prescription from my doc before I've managed to put the card on file, they'll just invoice me with the meds.  Sounds good.  Well, actually, it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen -- I have visions of my prescription languishing around with no ID number or credit card attached to it -- but I'll be optimistic.

A day or two later, I log in the system.

Ha.

Actually, I can't log in the system.  The first thing it wants is my Prescription Plan ID number.  I look at the card.  I give it my Health Plan ID Number, which it rejects as invalid.  My Prescription Plan Group Number?  Invalid.  Social Security Number?  Invalid.

Poop on a bun.

In what is either a stroke of genius or a random act of desperation, I give it my Health Plan ID Number with the alpha-characters omitted, and it accepts!  I log in and give it my credit card number.  I make a mental note to email the Physician's Assistant again the next day and give her what I now know to be my actual Prescription Plan ID number.

Except the next morning, I get an email from the Prescription Plan saying they've received my prescription, and are processing the little bugger.  Not three days later and my card was charged, and I've got a nice bottle of meds in my mailbox.

Amazing.

Now... to get them to stop using those damn child-proof caps...

2 comments:

hewasolddog299 said...

Your luck is better than mine. We changed Rx services in April -- I have yet to get a script from them. What a pain in the arse they are, too. And to make matters worse, they HAVE strated charging me double the co-pay. Bastards.

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