This is a blatant rant against insurance companies — so I don’t blame you if you want to skip this post!
I HATE INSURANCE! ALL insurance, but especially health insurance. On the other hand, after seeing David’s medical bills from last summer with his heart issues, I’d really rather not go without. So I guess we’re lucky to have it, at least until next summer when he goes on Medicare and I’m stuck looking for my own insurance – there’s no way this is going to be less expensive than what we have now. 🙁
I’ve always heard stories from other cruisers about trying to get enough of their medication that they can go cruising for an extended period of time and still take the medication prescribed by their physicians. In the past neither of us has taken ANY prescriptions, let alone important ones like David’s heart stuff, Plavix & Lipitor. David’s cardiologist assured us that taking the medications would in NO WAY cause us to change our lifestyles. I’m seriously wondering how he thought that was possible.
So for the last two days I have spend HOURS on the telephone with Caremark — the CVS prescription plan that works with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas which is our health insurance. We want to be flexible enough to leave U.S. waters for six months at a time, but NO…. damn insurance companies will not allow any more than a 90 day supply. Why NOT??? It’s not like we’re drug addicts trying to sell the Plavix or Lipitor for profit … or even abuse it for our own weirdo highs…
CVS/Caremark checked out the insurance policy limits and after promising us a out of the country “vacation override”, Blue Cross Blue Shield said we didn’t have the vacation override. Huh?
So after wasting literally 4-5 hours on the telephone we’re back to square one. No Plavix, no Lipitor…. we can leave here & “go cruising” but we have to be back in the U.S. by March 15. Anyone that’s cruised knows that there’s no predicting the time you’ll be hung up waiting for weather or other factors out of your control.
After a bit more research, since Lipitor just came off the patent, we can buy the generic for next to nothing a month (THX John on the Cruising Sailors Bulletin Board), so that solves half the issue. Now on to Plavix — I was told earlier today that it’s $220 a month if we buy it outright. Hmmm…. But even Plavix is vulnerable because it’s patent expires in May 2012. But in the meantime, we want to leave the U.S. NOW until early June 2012… so it would be really nice to have a six month supply, or at least a five month supply.
In the meantime, why do insurance companies have the right to decide what medical procedures we’re allowed to have, what medications we’re allowed to take and for what amount of time? Shouldn’t DOCTORS be deciding these issues? Insurance companies should be ASHAMED! Abusing normal healthy people that require a bit of medication is NOT what we anticipated as we retired & grew a bit older.
David’s answer is to just quit taking them and go cruising, after all, he has no symptoms and no limitations in our daily lives other than the INSURANCE RULES! But just in case the cardiologists DO know what they’re talking about, I’d feel better if we had enough meds that we didn’t have to worry about being at any location for sure at any specific time frame — all cruisers know that’s a recipe for disaster.
Anyone out there that has an answer for this ridiculous Catch 22, PLEASE leave a comment. Lipitor isn’t an issue and Plavix will cease to be an issue soon, but what happens if one of us is prescribed a newer drug that isn’t due to come off patent pricing anytime soon? Then we have to decide between cruising (i.e. life) and the medications? Something is just not right with the insurance situation in our great country. 🙁