The Itch I Can’t Scratch

The following is not a paid advertisement, and I’m not getting any commission. But it is a rant; proceed at your own risk.

Yesterday, I went to the doctor to discuss a little rash I’ve had on my hands. He told me it was very mild form of dyshidrotic eczema, treatable with a steroid cream. Quelling my fears of imminent death, as indicated by WebMD, I was relieved that it’s not a big deal. (I also had three different pricks, but not the fun kind: a Hep A shot, a flu shot, and they drew blood for routine testing. But I digress.)

So I go about my merry day, hitting up Club Pharm. The nice tech typed her little hands off, looking up my prescription. Her eyes widened and uttered, “Wow. That’s a really high copay. It’s $400.98.” In shock, I might have cursed. “Oh, there’s no goddamn way I’m paying that.” At this point, I handed her my insurance, and she entered it. Beep boop beep, and it came back that, not only would my insurance not cover the original dosage, but they would only cover a third (20 grams versus 60) of it. The price lowered to $99 of which they would cover a whopping $8.50. I walked away infuriated and without my medication.


This morning, I woke up with a mission to figure this out. There’s no way a simple cream could cost $400. I would rather let my hands rot than pay an absurd amount. At first, I called the pharmacy again to double check if that, in fact, was correct. It was.

Then I called my doctor’s office. They were dumfounded, too. They told me to go with another pharmacy and see if it could be cheaper elsewhere; meanwhile, they would investigate another, similar medication to reduce the cost. It was then that I did some research on my provider’s website— and, yes, the retail value was over $400 where my plan didn’t cover ANY of it. So, I called them.

I talked to a very nice man who said, “Yeah, they’re trying to get your money.” I was firm but polite with him, knowing that he personally was not the issue.

And then, finally, I called my mom, as any snowflake butthurt millennial does. With her infinite wisdom, she took to the Google machine. We found a coupon for the prescription at roughly $70 for the original dosage— still too damn much, in my opinion. But I called my pharmacy, ran the numbers, and it’s being filled as we speak.

Here are my issues.

  • It’s a cream. We’re not talking heart medication, liver pills, or even chemotherapy. It’s a CREAM! To treat a pesky rash! How in the hell could a cream cost $400 retail? In what universe is that an appropriate amount?
  • I had to do the work. Me. Calling, inquiring, investigating. Had I went about this all fat dumb and happy, I would have ended up paying the money, and no one would have said a word.
  • My insurance is worthless. I’m not blaming my employer, although our benefits could be improved. United Healthcare and OptumRx are trash companies, and I’m sure the rest aren’t any better.
  • This is no one person’s fault. Of all the people with whom I interacted, everyone was pleasant, as was I. But I became infuriated in the process.
  • I used a coupon. Not combined with my insurance, not a special rate through any sort of service. This is, straight up, a coupon that I GOOGLED.

And again, this is over a cream. I cannot imagine the process with other more important, life-or-death medications. I am so blessed that my pressing ailment is more of an annoyance than a concern— I’m more distraught that my doctor says I should take off my rings in case I’ve developed a metal allergy. They’re my fashion, flair, and nearly my livelihood.

By the way, it’s not contagious.

 

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3 thoughts on “The Itch I Can’t Scratch

  1. Pat

    Totally agree with you and I’ll spare everyone the boredom of my own stories. However I do always think about the folks who don’t have our resources (money and otherwise) and go without their medication or split the pills to make them last. It shouldn’t be this much of a struggle but it is.
    When I get irritated, I remember to be grateful that I have the money to pay.

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