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May 29, 2002: Let's hear it for the HMO

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We recently switched health insurance plans at work. The good news is that the new plan is more comprehensive and includes a mail-order option for prescriptions. This is a good thing, because the new plan also doubled the co-pay for prescription drugs. While I understand why the cost is higher, this makes a big dent in our finances, considering all of Richard’s asthma meds. So one thing we’ve both agreed to do is see how many of our prescriptions we can get through mail order. Not all of them will work, but at least this way it’ll reduce the impact of the higher prices.

I only have one prescription – a pill I take in my overall goal of Better Living Through Chemistry. Not only does the pill cut out that pesky pregnancy issue, but it also has resulted in me never having to deal with the Cramps From Hell or the suicidal depression that often accompanies my once-a-month reminder of my glowing femininity. Yeah, I just love being a girl.

The problem is that my doctor, in his infinite wisdom, only gave me a refill through May. Considering that my health insurance only allows me to see my doctor once a year for that all important Bare Your Privates To The World exam, this means that I had to go through the hassle of getting my prescription refilled. Plus, the mail order program won’t take a new or refill prescription until two weeks before it is due (because by golly, you wouldn’t want to make things *convenient* for anyone, now would you?), so I couldn’t go through the hassle of getting the new prescription and sending it in until just the right moment – the moment which happens to be now.

The doctor’s office is only open until 5pm. I work about thirty miles away from the office, which means that there is no way I can just pop by during my lunch hour. So for the past two days I have been wading through voicemail hell to get a new prescription. My doctor is out of town this week, as is his medical assistant. The doctor who is supposed to be covering for my doctor is also out of town, as is his medical assistant. I routed myself back through the maze to the receptionist, only to have her dump me right back into it as she sent me right back where I’d come from. By round four, we’d finally established that I really did know what I was talking about when I said “no, do *not* give me their voicemail” and I was finally able to speak to someone who might be able to help me. Of course, she didn’t have access to my medical records, which made things even more fun.

We finally straightened it all out (because I am nothing if not persistent when it comes to my Happy Drug of Choice), and she promised me there would be a prescription waiting for me at the front desk when I swing by tonight. Of course, the next step is to get the mail order thing set up, and from what I have heard, this isn’t exactly a walk in the park either. But then I've already spent two days fighting to get this far. What's a few more hours wasted?

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