I may not have told you this yet, dear readers, but I am spending all of August in Europe visiting Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, and three cities in Croatia; Split, Hvar, and Dubrovnik. This is a trip I’ve dreamed about for a long time, and my wonderful new employers at The American Prospect were kind enough to trade me an August vacation for working these few weeks in July. Why Central Europe? A big reason is that I’m fascinated by the Jewish history of Germany, Austria, and Hungary. Berlin in particular has excited me since I took a class on twentieth century Germany with Omer Bartov. As for Croatia, you’ll find me at the beach.
Since I’ll be away for a month, I called my insurance company on Monday to ask how I can make sure I have enough of my medicine to last. "Just go to the pharmacy and have them call us," the guy told me. So yesterday, that’s what I did. After a long phone call, the friendly pharmacist told me my pills would be available July 18. Today, the 18th, I returned to the pharmacy. A different pharmacist pulled out my drugs, and said the insurance company would cover two months of my migraine medication, but not my birth control pills. The migraine meds I take are powerful neurological drugs that reduce the flow of blood to the brain. The birth control is, well, extremely common and safe.
I told the pharmacist, "No way am I paying out of pocket." She called Blue Cross Blue Shield. They told her I had to have my ob-gyn call them directly for "prior authorization," directly contradicting Monday’s information.
At this point, I was getting really angry. Why on earth does a woman need a doctor, a pharamacist, and three different insurance company bureaucrats to sign off on her request for 60 days worth of completely safe oral contraceptives? These are pills that are sold over the counter in other Western nations, for crying out loud! And speaking of silly, I resent the fact that I have to traipse to CVS every 28 days to get my new pack — paying $35 for it after coverage — when this is a medication I use every single day. Why can’t I buy in bulk?
Okay, sorry to vent that frustration. But that’s what a blog is for, right?