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[IPk] Insulin availability; was "insulin abuse"
Abigail, I feel for you, but if you think you have it rough when you need
insulin away from home, here are the steps I'd have to take to obtain insulin
if on holiday in another US city, in a few different possible scenarios:
If between the hours of ca. 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.:
1) Call several pharmacies until I find one that will accept my health
2) Have that pharmacy call the pharmacy where I normally have my prescriptions
filled. If I have a refill left on my insulin prescription, then the pharmacy
in the new place can take that as a transferred prescription and I'll have to
pay $15.00 per vial.
*Note: if a pharmacy won't accept my insurance, I'm liable for $37.50 per vial
of Humalog. I can submit a claim and see if my insurance company will
reimburse me to the point that I'd really paid $15 for a vial, but if the
claim isn't authorized at the time of purchase, things are at their
discretion. Better to find a pharmacy that accepts my insurance up-front than
to try to fix things after the fact.
If outside the hours of 9-9ish:
1) As my normal pharmacy (which offers the best prices on my blood glucose
test strips but which is not a 24-hour pharmacy) would be closed, I'd have to
find a doctor to prescribe me some insulin.
2) Find all 24-hour pharmacies within a reasonable distance so that when I
find a doctor to write the prescription I can actually have it filled.
3) If I can find a doctor on call for the practice where I am normally seen
*who has prescribing privileges in the state where I'm on holiday,* he/she can
call in the prescription to a pharmacy which has passed the test of step 1
4) Go to pharmacy and pay $15 per vial.
If outside the hours of 9-9ish and I _can't_ find a doctor with prescribing
privileges in the state where I'm staying:
1) Go to the nearest hospital emergency room (i.e. casualty department) and
wait my turn until I get seen (could be just an hour, could be several hours)
2a) Probably pay exorbitant rate to get insulin at the hospital's own
dispensary--which may or may not accept my health insurance plan.
*Note: The visit to the emergency room and 10 minutes of the doctor's time
will probably cost $200, which my insurance company may or may not pay
depending upon whether I've met my deductible for the month.
2b) As an alternative to the hospital dispensary, if I know of a 24-hour
pharmacy which will accept my insurance, I can have the doctor call in the
prescription to that pharmacy. 3) After going to collect the prescription, at
long last get my insulin (for $15, with insurance).
When I visited friends in Southampton one weekend last summer and took a vial
of NPH instead of Humalog along, I was _astonished_ that I had the right
insulin within three hours and at a cost of GPB 6 on a Sunday morning. When
my American friend Anne-Louise and I told her English husband Simon that in
the US the same process we went through in three hours and GBP 6 would have
taken a minimum of 5 hours and cost at least $220, he was incredulous. But
Bottom line: if y'all ever visit the US, pack PLENTY of the right insulin!
email @ redacted
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