Lessons Learned about Medications and Their Pricing

Yesterday I mentioned that I paid an unexpectedly high price for some prescription medicine I take. Half my usual dose cost three times as much, which came as a bit of a shock, but because I needed to up the dosage, I paid. I resolved to later figure out what the heck was up.

My pills are not in this picture. @SteveAllenPhoto via Twenty20

I spent a good portion of my morning on hold or in chats with the “Health Joy” representative, then with a woman from my health insurance company. I’m glad a meeting was canceled, and that I can keep working while on hold. More on that later.

I discovered something I didn’t know, and wanted to pass it on in case any of you find this kind of thing happening. There are lots of reasons prescription costs go up and down, so it is not always easy to figure out what is going on with them. Prices just go up on a whim, or when a medication becomes scarce. They go down when generics are available. BUT, here’s the thing I learned: not all generic manufacturers price things the same!

I am glad I only take one prescription med. @Barefoot_Traveller via Twenty20

I checked to see if I’d been accidentally given the name-brand version of my medication, but nope, it was a generic. But, it was made by a different company. And that’s what the insurance representative explained to me. You not only have to be sure you’re getting a generic, but also that you’re getting the least expensive generic! I guess I’d always gotten the least expensive one back when I was using the grocery store in Austin, but the tiny drug store in Cameron must not have had the cheap one, so they gave me a costly alternative.

If I had refused the medication, the insurance company could have called and told them to switch it out, but I needed it, so I paid. I’ll know better next time, and now you know, too!

In happier news, I’m once again glad that I am so friendly and patient when some task takes a long time. I ended up having a nice conversation with both the Health Joy person, who was in Mexico and surrounded by chickens that I could hear, and the insurance person, who asked me what kind of ear buds I was using, because I sound so clear. I made her day by telling her what I have, that it isn’t expensive, and she can get it on Amazon. It’s so great to laugh a little.

They look simple, but they work!

I’ve also laughed a bit at work, thanks to my team members, so it’s one of those days where life does not suck at all. I am even moving forward on getting the Austin house sold.

The grass is always greener in the middle of a pile of rocks, says Mabel.

I think that’s just the way life is, with a few bad days, a few good days, and a lot of days with ups and downs. As my circle of friends lost a valued community member yesterday, I have been reminded that I’m lucky to be here, be healthy, and have people who care!

Other Habits to Change: Food and Drug Edition

TW: This is about medications and managing the types of food I eat.

The doctor I’d been going to since I moved to Texas retired recently (and somehow I missed being informed of that…guessing it went to some old email). She was a really nice, calm woman who never got excited about anything. She’d say we could try this, we could try that…what do you feel most comfortable with?

I’d been to other doctors in that practice, and all were fine, but since I have moved closer to another affiliated clinic, I decided to try one closer to home. Argh. Changing primary care physicians is NOT easy, since so few of them are taking new patients. I finally found a couple who didn’t have horrible reviews and chose the woman, just because, I guess.

My “Drug Habit”

I don’t like to take pills. Only if absolutely necessary. Photo credit @erimar via Twenty20

Yesterday at 7 am, minutes after I woke up, her office called to brightly ask what medications I need refilled and to inform me that “the doctor doesn’t do refills of alprazolam, just so you’ll know.” Well, huh. That drug is Xanax, which I’ve had as an “emergency backup” for decades. I generally take about 6 a year, maybe fewer, especially now that my panic attack issue is much better. So, I was interested in finding out more about that, perhaps when I was more awake. At least she didn’t say they were taking away my fluoxetine (Prozac), which makes me feel like a stereotype, but also makes me able to cope with stuff like a pro.

Continue reading “Other Habits to Change: Food and Drug Edition”