How much of a financial savings would it take to make you gamble with your health and wellbeing? Would it surprise you if I told you some of your neighbors would jeopardize their health for a savings of $30 a month? How about $20? Or even $10?
It wouldn’t surprise me! In the past, I’ve watched patients put their health on the line for as little as $10 a month. Now please understand, these are not patients who are destitute. They have jobs, homes, and go out to eat and to a movie on weekends. These are people who have bought into what I call “The Insurance Mentality” or TIM for short.
People suffering from TIM believe that if insurance doesn’t pay for something that it is not worth having. If their insurer tells them they will not pay for a particular medication, they call the office demanding to be taken off their current medication and switched to the insurer preferred product. After all, the insurance company has their best interest in mind, right? Wrong! Their insurance company’s job is to maximize profits and make their stockholders happy. My job is to maximize my patients’ health!
Unfortunately, the insurers are winning. Emboldened by their newfound powers under Obamacare, The United Federation of Insurers of America (FU America) declared war on all expensive medications on January 1, 2014, papering the country with denials of medication orders and demanding that doctors and patients alike conform to the insurers select list of cheap medication. The war continues today. No matter that a person has been successfully treated with a given medication for 5 years, they must surrender and change.
Those patients suffering from TIM immediately follow the edicts of the FU America movement and called in for their insurer preferred scripts. Many were aghast to find they had to come in for an office visit but did so as FU America covered that visit. All wanted to know if the switch was “safe.”
“Mr. X, you’ve done great on your Diovan for 3 years. You’ll probably be fine on Losartan (the generic FU America prefers) but we won’t know until you try it. I know that Diovan will cost you more so if you want to switch, we can try.”
Mr. X wanted to try so off he went with his new prescription and his trip to failure. Yes, he reacted poorly to the meds and came close to staying at Good Shepherd Hospital. He’s better now and back on his Diovan. He learned a hard lesson but, in the end, he’ll be ok. What’s your health worth? Are you really willing to rock the apple cart to save a little money or would you be better off staying home, preparing your own meals and watching reruns on TV?