Friday, December 28, 2007

Waiting on Rebif

I'm writing while waiting on hold AGAIN to talk to my insurance company about my prescription for Rebif--my MS medication. I'm going to multitask with my blog since I can't do any real work when they keep coming back on the phone asking me questions every couple of minutes.

I started Rebif in October, getting my drugs from a mail-order pharmacy connected to the pharmaceutical company that makes the drug. Anyway, I was told that, after a month, if my neuro and I decided I was staying on the drug, I could get it from my insurance company with 3 months for the price of one. So, switching to the insurance company mail order pharmacy would save me $140 per year--not exactly chump change for a single mom. I have played telephone tag with the insurance company and the pharmacy arm of the insurance company going on three weeks now. I'm sure there has been a day or two or five of procrastination on my part during that time, but "what the heck?!" Managing my medical care, insurance, claims, etc. could be a full-time job and I already have two of those.

So, anyway, yesterday I decided that, because I only had one remaining syringe left (just call me Last Minute Lucy) I would call the insurance company again and stay on the phone until it was resolved and my medication delivery was scheduled. So, I did. I waited on hold and then discussed the issue with someone in Customer Service who insisted that I had to get the Rebif starter pack where I would be ramping up to the full dose. I explained to her, as I had explained to all the prior Customer Service reps, that I had already ramped up and that I was transferring my prescription for the full dose to the insurance company pharmacy to get a three month supply with each refill and save money. She put me on hold again, apparently searching around for the 90-day prescription that I had to have my neuro fax to them. Eureka! She found it and then transferred me to the delivery department who wanted to arrange delivery of a 30-day supply. I bit my tongue and explained to the kind gentleman that I needed a 90-day supply and I was put on hold again, for a REALLY, REALLY LONG TIME. My arms were hurting me a lot yesterday so it was taking a lot of energy to hold the cell phone up to my ear. I know that my cell phone has a speaker phone capability (which I randomly activate by accident from time to time). So, I pushed some buttons that I thought might turn on the speaker phone function but I must have pressed the mute button (that I didn't know I had and have no idea when I would use) by mistake. So, after waiting on hold for about 20 minutes, the delivery gentleman came back on the line and kept saying "Miss Baker? Miss Baker?" When I realized he could not hear me, I frantically pushed buttons trying to deactivate the mute function. No luck. So, after 30 seconds of not getting a response from me, he hung up. I screamed at the top of my lungs and decided to wait a day before calling back so I didn't rip into an underpaid and overworked customer service rep who happened to answer the phone.

So, here I am. It's a day later and I took my last dose of Rebif last night (I missed Monday by mistake so I did Tuesday, Thursday, and hopefully, Saturday this week). Guess what I'm doing right now. Yup. Waiting on hold. Chloe (I finally had the good sense to ask for a name from the third rep I've spoken to in the last 15 minutes ), just told me that perhaps I spoke to the Home Delivery arm of the insurance company versus the Speciality Pharmacy division where she works because she only has a 30-day prescription on file. So, I'm on hold again. So, apparently, without my insurance company's org chart, I can't get my prescription filled. Have I mentioned that I have NO INJECTIONS LEFT and that this is a disease modifying drug??????

OK. So, Chloe just came back on the phone with Adelia from the Home Delivery arm of the insurance company patched in. We are on a three-way call where one or the other keeps coming back on the line saying that my insurance doesn't cover a 90-day supply and that the Member Services rep I spoke with initially (last month, maybe?) must have been mistaken.

OK. Now, Adelia says they WILL cover a 90-day supply but I have to fill out paperwork to register. I asked her if the 90-day prescription is on file and she said she can't look it up until I register. So, I have to go to a website, download forms, fill them out, fax them to her and call on Monday to see if the prescription has been filed. THEN I have to wait 14 days to get the actual medication. I said no thank you and hung up.

So, now I'm on hold with the information operator to get the number of my local pharmacy to see if they carry Rebif. The pharmacy is ringing. The suspense is killing me.

No Rebif at Stop & Shop pharmacy. I'm calling Walgreens. Ugh. Walgreens has to special order it but they say they can get it on Monday. But, wait...oh...big surprise...when the pharmacist tried to submit a dummy claim for the Rebif with my insurance company, it didn't go through.

So, now I'm on hold with the first mail-order prescription company that has been sending me Rebif since October. They are overnighting it to arrive at my house tomorrow, so I will only be taking the dose a day late. Uh oh. Not so fast. They can't fill the prescription because the insurance company pharmacy has already submitted a claim so it's coming up that I am trying to refill the prescription too soon. I'm on hold again. Three way hold. A menage a hold. Hehe.

As soon as I get Chloe or some other rep from the insurance company on the phone I have to tell them to cancel the prescription so the other mail order pharmacy can fill it. I'm listing to country hold music. Sounds like a steel guitar. My foot is tapping. I don't generally like country but this isn't too bad. And, it's better than the "Due to heavy call volume, our customer services representatives are all taking care of other calls. We look forward to talking with you soon. Approximately wait time A GAZILLION MINUTES."

It's been reversed. Phew. Who knew I could be so happy to get a shot?

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