Posted by: Brenda Kula | January 4, 2008

New Insurance Directives

My trip to the pharmacy proved to be chaotic. Everyone was harried and the phones never stopped ringing. A new year. Meaning insurance companies have issued new rules, or formularies. Which means they’ve dropped their coverage for various medications and people are genuinely pissed off. Including me.

They decided they will no longer cover any portion of an expensive prescription I take every night. It is a continuous release sleeping pill for insomniacs such as myself. Some people fall asleep in front of the television, with or without a pill. I’ve never fallen asleep in front of a television. When I was a mere preschooler, I can recall being so tired I was practically a walking zombie. But sleep still evaded me.

My insurance company notified me of this change in policy when I had but a few pills left. Of course there is no generic. I frantically called the doctor’s office. A recording. The holidays, you know. "If you need a doctor, please go to the emergency room. Have a happy holiday."

Come January 2, I’m on the phone and apparently so is everyone else. Finally I manage to get through. The doctor is just as upset as I am, her secretary tells me. "They’re absolutely driving us crazy." They being the insurance companies and their new directives. I envision a woman sticking her finger into a light socket, her hair splaying out in every conceivable direction, at the other end of the line.

So I stand in the pharmacy amidst the phones ringing and employees scrambling to put people on hold. And wait for a likely less effective drug to be filled. Along with a lot of other unhappy campers, mind you.

What will it take to get these insurance companies under control?

I just want to be assured that the elderly Meals On Wheels clients have more than one meal per day. Because they can’t always afford both food and their medication. They are so thankful every time I deliver their meals to them. You know, I was taught to respect my elders. I think they should be able to kick back in their golden years and not have to worry so much. Or have to decipher changing Medicare mandates. And wonder if their Social Security check can stretch to the end of the month.

I want all of us standing around the pharmacy with exasperated expressions on our faces to revolt. Isn’t that what they do in other countries to bring about change? But somehow I have trouble seeing my Meals On Wheels clients standing with the aid of their canes and walkers in revolt. They seem pretty tired and worn out, and dubious about whether they’ll get the care they’ve been promised. It’s a disgrace.

By the way, I was right about the new medication. I was wide awake at 3 a.m. Staring into the darkness. Hoping there will come a day when the insurance companies won’t be arbitrarily deciding whether people will have to go without their medication, regardless of need. And perhaps they too will lie awake doing something other than counting their money. 



  1. I just read your post and I am wondering about the medication you take for insomnia. My daughter who is twenty now has suffered from it all her life.(well when she was a baby I was the one who suffered as she whould be widw away from 10 pm until 2 am every night!) Is this something you have to worry about becoming dependant on? I would really apreciate any information on this. thank you!

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