Every once in a while, persistence pays off.
As I’ve said before, it bugs me to pay $10.99 for a prescription when my insurance booklet quite clearly says that my co-pay should be $10. Sure, it’s just 99 cents. But a contract is a contract, and it’s my 99 cents. It adds up, month after month after month.
The pharmacy says it’s not their problem; they just charge what the computer says should be charged. If I have any questions, I should contact my insurer. The insurance company says it’s not their problem; prescription pricing is too complex for patients to understand (and, by implication, I should quit bothering them about things I’m too stupid to understand) so I need to just pay whatever the computer says to pay. Why does everyone bow down and kneel unquestioningly at the altar of the almighty computer?
A year ago I spoke to my insurance benefits administrator. He didn’t quite understand, and I finally decided that the time I’d invested in trying to get everything straightened out was worth more than the ninety-nine cents we were quibbling over. It was easier to pay the extra money than to keep beating my head against a wall.
Having recently reviewed my medical costs for the past year, I tried again. “The “9″ key and the “0″ key are side-by-side on the keyboard. Can you get someone to check and see if it’s possible that the data entry clerk made a typo?” The benefits administrator finally listened – probably because he figured that I was going to keep hounding him about that stupid 99 cents until I got some answers. He wrote down the name of the drug and promised to see what he could find out.
A few hours later he called me back with some cockamamie story that boils down to “the insurer doesn’t want to admit that anyone made a mistake because then someone would have to refund money to everyone who’s been paying that extra dollar every month, but it’s fixed now.”
This happened just in time to affect the price of my refills. Two hours after the final phone call, the pharmacy charged $10 for my prescription. Like I’ve said all along that it should be.