erik lundegaard

Friday March 15, 2013

My Pharmacy, My Insurance Co., and Me

Here's a story of modern inconvenience.

Eighteen months ago I was diagnosed with something called subacute thyroiditis, which, after a year, necessitated taking a thyroid supplement every day: levothyroxine sodium. Num.

My pharmacy parceled this out in 30-day supplies. After several months I asked, “Can't I just get this in a 90-day supply? So I don't have to come here all the time and bug you guys?” The prescription was in fact written for a 90-day supply but I was told my insurance company didn't allow it. I made a mental note to contact them. Or it.

It contacted me first: an old-fashioned letter in which I was admonished for going with three 30-day supplies instead of one 90-day supply, which it preferred. The letter included this warning:

If you fill another 30-day supply of your long-term medications without contacting us first, you will pay the full cost of your medications.

Ah, an old-fashioned showdown. But before calling the insurance company, I called the pharmacy to double-check my facts. Good thing. Apparently I'd misunderstood or been misinformed. The problem wasn't my insurance company; it was my pharmacy's supplier, United Drug. The pharmacy rep told me, “We're not contracted to do a 90-day supply [with United Drug].” She didn't really know the reason why. That's just the way it was.

So I called my insurance company to apprise them of the situation and ask if there were pharmacies in the area that were contracted for 90-day supplies. The rep I spoke with didn't really know. He was nice enough, though. As was everyone in this story. Even me.

Anyway, an annoying flake of modern life. My doctor, my pharmacy, and my insurance company all want me to have a 90-day supply of a drug to keep me healthy, but United Drug, a company I didn't even know existed until the other day, has, for reasons unknown, blocked our efforts. Here is its website. And this is what it says about itself on its website:

Our ambition is to be a dynamic, leading international healthcare services company, fostering enhanced patient outcomes through partnerships with healthcare manufacturers, government agencies, providers and payors

Posted at 07:41 AM on Friday March 15, 2013 in category Personal Pieces  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard