Friday, February 01, 2013

Different Verse

Day 275: PrescribedI'm afraid this may not be scintillating reading but, with health care as with so many things, I feel as though the more we tell our stories and get the information out there the better chance we have of getting some change in this stupid system. If I needed back up on that (I don't) here's a post from Shakesville today about how all the people telling us to "pull [our]selves up by [our] bootstraps" don't understand what that would entail. As you may know, I've spent several years working for rich folks so I speak from experience when I tell you that, no, they really don't have a clue how the system works. They don't have to.

So, anyway, what I'm here to document is a trip to the pharmacist. If you don't know about my fun with basal cell carcinoma here are the photos.

I now mention every single weird skin thing to Dr. Choudhury, my dermatologist. When I got my annual check I asked him to reassure me again that two spots on my face were harmless. He allowed as how, if they continued to present in a way I found troubling, I could use a cream that works in some magic way to both discourage cancerous growth and/or expose it. Since part of that process is to make my face look red, irritated, and gross I decided to wait until after I was done with the show, which meant waiting until the new year was well under way. Yesterday we met.

There are two versions of the cream. Dr. Choudhury and his student debated which to use. They talked to me about whether I'd rather have a shorter, more aggressive and obvious course of treatment or a longer, easier one. I chose the former to get it over with then thought for a bit and asked about price. The doc had been putting both choices into the computer and said that, actually, insurance had made the choice for us*, they would only cover one. Not my best move, I realize now, but I didn't even confirm which one it is.

I gave the pharmacy a day to get it all together. I went in this afternoon and still had to wait about 20 minutes. Halfway through that I get called up to the counter so that I can confirm that I was willing to pay the cost, $191. Yes, I'm going to pay it. Dr. Choudhury said it's the kind of thing he'd only say I should do about once a decade so it's not like this is going to pop up again in a few months. Also, it goes toward my deductible ($1,250 annually re-setting every January 1st.) so that's a goodish thing since I'm pretty sure I'll meet it this year. And yet, seriously, a tube of cream to be used twice a day for a few weeks to combat cancer costs $191 and it's not something anyone mentions to you until you get to the check out counter? There's something wrong with the system.

Oh, and even if I'd met the deductible they'd only cover a percentage of the cost. The most they will ever pay for my prescriptions is 60%.

And I know I'm one of the lucky ones.

*Total fucking bullshit. Why we allow this to happen I will never understand. It's despicable.

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