As things go in the abysmal American healthcare system, insurance company sponsored mail order pharmacies are a good deal, especially for those of us with chronic illnesses who require maintenance meds.
So, rather than paying the full copay per prescription each month at the local pharmacy, I order online from CIGNA's Tel-Drug pharmacy, receive three month's worth of meds by mail, for which I have to pay only two month's worth of copays. If you don't do the intertubes, you can still order using your telephone keypad to enter the Rx numbers.
At least, that's how it's supposed to work.
CIGNA recently upgraded Tel-Drug's pharmacy software, and things went to shit. Seems they didn't adequately test the telephone reorder part of the system, which currently doesn't work. So, folk trying to use their phone to place automated refill orders now have to talk to a customer service rep.
Consequently, Tel-Drug's call center is so overwhelmed that most of the time, you get a recording that says they're "experiencing larger-than-normal call volume" (Duh!) and that due to this volume, you must call back later, or you can place / track your order online. Should you be lucky enough to get into the call queue, wait time is ridiculous - I waited 24 minutes after 10 PM EDT last night before I finally got to a rep to straighten out their error in a order I had placed online.
If you do order online and something gets bolluxed up, you can either call (Good luck!), or send a email with one of those "Contact Us" forms. My order from eight days ago was being held up for "approval" for a sharps container that Tell-Drug provides free to folk with injectable meds, so I had initially sent an email. After the message was sent, I was presented a page that said if I needed my order ASAP, I should ask my doctor (he's a 45 minute drive away) to give me an Rx for one month's worth of my drugs.
Gee, thanks ! I live on a very limited disability income, and set aside money each month to be able to pay for my quarterly order. I cannot afford to pay the $140 in co-pays for just one month's supply.
Finally, after I got through last night and got the erroneous hold removed, they processed the order and hit my debit card for $280.
Today, I came back from the grocery store to a voicemail from Tel-Drug, to please call them to schedule shipment. I was nearly in tears with frustration. So, I'll stay up late again tonight, after 10 PM, in the hope that I can get through in 20 minutes or so, to "schedule delivery" for the same meds they've been sending by the same carrier to the same address for three years.
This is healthcare in the richest country on earth ...
I am very, very grateful for what coverage I do have. I cannot imagine what it's like for the uninsured.
Crossposted at Street Prophets