Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Health Insurance Fables

Like many others in my generation I take Lipitor.  Last year, after an extended period, where Pfizer tried to protect their franchise a generic version (Atorvastatin) was released.  Blue Cross immediately switched me to that cheaper alternative.  There was no choice.   But what they did not do was reduce the price.   I wondered why that was.  So I went to my pharmacist and inquired.  I was told that it takes them a couple of months to "update the formulary" before I will see the price reduction.    I thought that a bit odd and so I went to Blue Cross and was told the same fable.

What confuses me is that the formulary listing which drugs they will cover was updated immediately but for some reason the price list could not be updated with the same rapidity.  This was on Medicare's Part D plan offered by Blue Cross.  At five months I am still waiting for the updated price.

One of the arguments that the President made when he passed the pending monster called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was that the new ton of regulations would ultimately reduce prices.   As a relatively new participant in Medicare, I guess I will hold my breath.   One of the oddest things you find when you become a Medicare participant is that for Parts A and B you cannot get an electronic bill nor can you send an electronic payment (although it may be possible when I begin to receive Social Security).   That does not look like a cost saving measure until you realize that all those people at the billing center are part of the President's promise about all those jobs that the Stimulus Bill created.

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