I’m taking a new medicine (no, it’s not insulin) that comes in a pen. I give myself a shot in the stomach every morning, which isn’t remotely as bone-chillingly horrible as it sounds. With these pens, you screw them into the pen and give the shot. Then you throw the needle part away and use a fresh one the next day.
After 2 weeks, I needed more “pen needles.” I can’t seem to get them. My pharmacy doesn’t appear to have them, so my doc called them in to a medical supplier. They called me today to say that while they do have what I need, they can’t take my insurance.
I said “Can I just get a week’s worth and pay for it without the insurance? I just used my last one.” The lady paused. I heard typing, and she came back with “No.” I wasn’t sure I heard her correctly. She repeated, “No, they’re prohibitively expensive.” And she said this to me AFTER reading that I have an Ann Arbor mailing address. This place is a shithole, but many people assume we have money because we have an Ann Arbor address.
Long story short, nobody seems able to help me get them.
Desperate, I look them up online so I can at least find out how much I need to scrape together to get them.
Come to find out, Amazon has a box of 100 for under $15.
What the hell?!?
I’m pondering this, because it happened the same week I got CPAP supplies from the local medical equipment supplier–MedEquip Ann Arbor, if you’re wondering. The charge for one “gel mask with headgear” is $149. But I was charged an additional $50 (billing only, it said) for headgear. But guess what? I only got one headgear. I called the place, and they assured me several times that even thought it SAYS the $150 price covers headgear, they actually have to charge me an extra $50 for reasons they can’t explain.
Guess what? Amazon sells the gel masks for $70 (without headgear) and $20 for the headgear. So they’re charging more than twice what another retailer is for the same exact products. Same brands, models, everything.
When I asked about this, they explained that part of what I was paying for was “the convenience” of having them bill my insurance–which doesn’t cover these full amounts. But it WOULD cover everything if they weren’t overcharging me out the ass.
I’m not sure what I want to do about that. Can I bill my insurance for reimbursement for stuff I bought on Amazon? How does that even work?
It seems like this kind of fuckery is just another thing making health care shitty in America. If we had single payer, companies that overcharge by this much would never get a government contract and would have to either charge fairly or GTFO.