I wrote you the $4000 check now give me my drugs (or why COBRA sucks part two)!

So, last week I send the $4,080 check to my old employer so I could have two months of COBRA coverage (if that amount just put a shiver through your spine, think of how we feel. Then know that we have another $2,040 check to write at the end of this month before it’s over). It’s been six weeks since  I left my old job. That’ ‘s a long time to pay for medications out of pocket. It’s frightening to see all the bills roll in that say “coverage not in force at time of service” even though  I know that the insurance company will eventually pay all the doctors that we’ve begged to treat us during this time.

A couple of days ago, I called the benefits office of my old employer to confirm that they got the check and to see when we’d have coverage. While the gal in the office was quite pleasant, her answer was more of a good news bad news thing.

“Yep, we got the check.” she said.

‘So, when will we have insurance again,” I asked.

“Well (PREGNANT PAUSE), here’s a number that you can use for prescriptions (she rattled off a crazy combo of numbers) but…”

“BUT, what?” I said.

“But, I have no idea when United Health Care will have you updated in their system. It has to be uploaded. Then it has to spool…”

That was the point that I lost all interest to hear the rest of her message. I was slightly stunned. I just wrote a check that we really couldn’t afford for the right to continue our health care coverage and  no one could tell us when we’d have it again. I hung up disgusted.

On the bright side, we could get our prescriptions filled. So I called my hubby and gave him the number and planned to call in four of Rosie’s that were empty. Then I called the allergist to see if they could have my Xolair filled (which costs $4000 a pop. I’ve been off it for six weeks. Not a good thing for the start of allergy season.)

What happened next was a little dumbfounding. The nurse at the allergist agreed to attempt to call in my medication to the specialty pharmacy but she didn’t think they’d take the number over the phone. She thought I’d need a card.

“Good news!” she said when she called back. “They took the numbers. They are going to start the pre-certification process.”

While I could hear her smile through the phone, I was dumbfounded. It’s the same coverage for the same medicine I’ve been on for seven years. Nothing has changed. Yet, because we had a “lapse” in coverage (which according to the government it’s considered continuation) we now had to jump through hoops to get my drugs. I asked her when she thought I’d be able to get my shots and she answered as honestly as she could- she didn’t know.

It got worse.

My hubby called in his dwindling prescriptions to the mail order place and was flabbergasted to be told that our prescription drug coverage was cancelled the day before. He relayed this to me that night after work and was totally disgusted. We sent the freaking check, why don’t we have coverage?

Once again, I called my old employer’s benefit line to figure out how to get our medications. I got the same lady as before. I reminded her when she answered.

“I’m calling because we’ve been told we have no prescription coverage. I spoke with you two days ago.” I said.

“You didn’t speak with me,” she said (according to my notes, unless she has a twin sister with the same name working in the same department using the same tone of voice, I sure as hell did). “What’s your last name?”

I told her and spelled it. And, since I’m the only one in the world with that awkward, hyphenated last name, I knew I had her. I spelled slowly.

“Remember me? I’m the one that called to make sure you got my four grand so we could fill prescriptions for my asthma, a life threatening disease. Which my kid has too.”

Suddenly she did. And she told me we had coverage. Then she looked.

“Oh, my. You were cancelled two days ago. Must be a computer glitch. I’ll fix it right now and you’ll be fine. Let us know if you need anything else” and the line went dead.

Yes, I need something else. I’m paying OVER $6,000 for three months of health coverage that I’m not even getting. I can’t get my medications. I’m watching bills pile up and no one can even tell me when I can start the painful process of having to chase the insurance company to get everything paid. Won’t that part be fun?

For right now, I just want my drugs. And, I’m pissed that I can’t just write the astronomical check and make that happen. Our health care system sucks.


About debcb

All Deb wanted to do was work, until she had Rosie. For the past decade, she's juggled a full-time career, high-profile volunteer work and mommyhood.


  1. […] to” be continuation of benefits after losing a job ( I say supposed to because you get dumped off a plan immediately and then have to go back and chase an insurance company for months to recover the cost of your […]

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