Because Namine has multiple conditions, she has to take several medications. (To be honest, she’s not on nearly as many as when she was a baby, but this is still a fact of life for her.) We’re on a first-name basis with the pharmacist as a result, since we need prescription refills at regular intervals.
It surprised us, then, when the pharmacist informed us that he could not refill one of Namine’s prescriptions. He informed us that we needed to contact the doctor, which we did, only to be told that the doctor would not authorize any more refills until we came in to see him. (It’s worth noting that it was not the doctor Jessica spoke with, but rather his nurse.)
Fast forward to us bringing Namine to the appointment. When the doctor came in to see Namine, he asked if anything was wrong. I said no, we just needed to refill a prescription. He gave me a puzzled look, and said I should have just been able to call for that. I explained everything I just explained to you, dear reader, and he said that was ridiculous. I agreed.
We left the doctor’s office with an extended set of refills — 12 months instead of the usual three — and the knowledge that he instructed his nurse to let us call in subsequent refill requests.
Namine has two insurances. Firstly, she has mine, through my job. Secondly, she has state insurance, because she’s disabled. (You can trust me when I say it’s no picnic, either. It’s a constant fight for coverage and approvals. We also have to annually fight for her status as disabled, because the state would love to take her off that list. But I digress.) Whatever my insurance doesn’t cover, the state will pick up the rest.
There are many families for whom this is not the case. Requiring a visit to the doctor in order to refill an existing prescription — especially something known as being a lifelong condition — is a rather pointless exercise which results in nothing but an additional cost to the family’s budget.
In our case, if the Affordable Care Act hadn’t enabled Namine to receive state insurance, yesterday’s pointless visit (even as confirmed by her own doctor), it would have resulted in bills to the hospital, department, and doctor. And yes, a single visit would result in at least three different bills. As it is, I can fully expect to receive a call from Namine’s case worker at my insurance, because they will want to know if the doctor visit was really necessary.