I just received, via the failing us postal service, my most recent medicare/rx supplemental insurance statement which shows that my plan has paid precisely zero toward any of my prescriptions this year. Yet this coverage is, according to the incessant anxiety inducing advertisements, the only thing standing between me and the monstrous vortex of the dreaded “prescription donut hole” that will suck my bank account dry and leave me lying destitute and infirm on the side of the road clutching a tattered cardboard sign that reads “will work for plavix if I don’t stroke out first.”
So, I pay about $600 a year in premiums, with a $405 annual deductible…so just from the get go MJE is out a cool thousand bucks. As any typical overmedicated boomer, I ingest at least five prescription meds daily, as well as a few almost certainly useless nutritional supplements primarily to offset the results of ingrained unhealthy lifestyle choices, which I have no intention of changing.
So in order to try to sort out the vexing question of why am I spending money on supplemental insurance, which does not appear to supplement anything, I went in search of some answers, However, the federal government, which administers medicare has, in the interest of cutting government spending, deleted customer service entirely. This move, in addition to reducing governmental employee salaries and benefits, offers the added benefit of hastening the demise of legions of doddering lowlifes living off the government’s pharmaceutical tit. But my third party insurance provider, recommended by none other than the esteemed aarp, still employs customer service agents who do ultimately pick up the phone, but not before subjecting callers to a muzak loop obviously intended to force them to hang up and speed dial dr kevorkian instead.
However, MJE don’t scare that easy…I finally got connected to j joey who assured me most heartily that he could without a doubt answer any and all of my questions to my full and complete satisfaction. And true to his word he provided a lengthy and intricate explanation of exactly how each perceived expense had actually been a benefit that actively reduced my deductible, which currently stands at $35.97 thanks to my having spent $369.03 in cold hard cash. I then got an unsolicited tutorial on the pricing tiers of various medications should the elusive deductible ever be realized: tier 1 for example would only cost $1 for a 30 day supply, tier 2 would cost $3 for a 30 day supply and so forth. As the tiers get higher the formulas revert to random percentage coverages, which are then sliced into tranches, bundled with other medication pricing structures and sold as derivatives on the big pharma futures markets.
So according to the gospel of joey, two of my meds are tier 1, (theoretically cheap), one med was tier 2 (less cheap theoretically) should I ever meet my deductible, which unfortunately lies somewhere between the end of the rainbow and my shallow grave. My three other widely prescribed medications are not covered at all. The good news is that the pharmacy I use is not a preferred vendor so my costs are much higher. Why is that good news…because in the through the looking glass reality of insuranceland the more expensive the drug the faster I will be able to claw my way to the top of mount deductible!
When I suggested that perhaps I should look for another rx supplement provider, joey patronizingly advised me to simply take different meds. Well, that was the pill that broke this camel’s back. MJE’s response was as follows, “You sound as though you are about 22 years old and since you’re working the graveyard shift (in whatever your time zone is) at an insurance company customer service desk I’m gonna guess that you haven’t been to either pharmacy or medical school. And furthermore you are most likely not suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, depression, arthritis, bursitis, fallen arches, bleeding gums, tingling in your hands and feet, dry skin, memory loss, or swollen ankles, just to name a few common afflictions of your client base. So please leave the prescribing to the professionals and stick to convincing your pathetic geriatric medicare dependent customers that they are not being taken to the cleaners by your employer, you little prick.”
To which he replied “Thank you ma’am for that excellent feedback which I will certainly pass on to my supervisor, and have a wonderful rest of your day.”