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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Who Died And Made Insurance Companies Doctors?

I usually stay pretty cool about things. But, I'm getting rather annoyed that insurance companies have more control now than doctor's do. I'm just beside myself at how annoyed I am about this.

For starters, my pharmacist insists he needs to sit down with me and review my medicine. The past two years I have adamantly resisted this. I don't need to review my medicine. It's something I do with my doctor when needed.

Why would I need to sit down with my pharmacist so he can tell me what I already know. Besides the fact I'm a respiratory therapist who is a writer who specializes in asthma. Like, I read up on asthma every day. Asthma is my specialty. Not saying I know it all, but I certainly don't need to be lectured by my pharmacist.

So, today I get a call from my insurance company. It's a call I have not taken until today. But, considering they are persistent and keep calling frequently, I finally took the call today.

And, lo and behold, a nice lady is on the other end. She says, "It's time for your yearly pharmacy review."

I said, "I don't need to review my medicine."

She said, "Okay, did you already do your yearly medication review with your pharmacist?"

I said, "Why would I need to do that when I know more than the pharmacist about the medicines I'm taking?"

To my dismay, she hung up. Was my tone too rude? Perhaps. That's not what I intended. I actually wanted to continue the conversation, because I wanted to inquire as to why they insist on continuing to bother my about this.

Look, I have worked hard to get to the point where I am with my asthma control. Like, I know what medicines I take and why I take them. And, quite frankly, I use my medicines, sometimes, in ways the FDA does not approve of yet.

For instance, Symbicort is used as a rescue inhaler in Europe. The idea here is that, if you're having a flare-up, you should be getting the extra steroid along with the beta adrenergic. I find this works great for me.

But, I say this to the pharmacist and I get a lecture. It's like, "You know, you can't use it that way."

And I say, "Do you know they use it as a rescue medicine in Europe. The only way it's not approved for use this way in the U.S. is because the FDA lags long behind Europe in this regard."

Of course, I usually catch them off guard with such statements like this. And so, they read from the script they were trained to memorize: "You should use your medicine only as directed by your physician."

I think that most doctors agree that asthmatics are better at managing their medicine than most physicians. That's why, for most of my life, my doctor has allowed me to do this. So, I don't need a pharmacist doing this for me. I certainly don't need a person sitting in a leather chair who never has seen an asthmatic reviewing my medicine with me.

I understand pharmacists are just doing their job. They are told what to do by the insurance companies. That's why they bother me. So, I'm usually nice to them. I make it quite clear that I know it's the insurance company that I'm irritated with, not the pharmacists.

So when the insurance company itself called me, that set me off. Like, I don't think insurance companies should have more power than doctors. My doctor writes the prescriptions he thinks I need. The pharmacists roll is to fill those prescriptions. My insurance company's role is to pay whatever they agree to pay. And that's it.

I imagine, since the person hung up on me, this might come back to haunt me somehow. I suppose, the next time my pharmacist wants to sit down with me, or when my insurance company calls, I might have to indulge them. But, I'm not sure I will be able to do that without sounding so annoyed -- because I am annoyed.

So, frustration lingers long in my mind about this insurance company having too much control thing. I don't want to start repeating myself. If you want to read more on this check out my post, "Are Insurers Smarter Than Doctors?"

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