When the Customer has Changes in Prescription Coverage

by Angela Stevens on January 11, 2010

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Recently, my husband informed me that our health insurance coverage was going to be changing. We had four new options, all with benefits different from what we have had for the past several years. Some of these changes are good, but some, like our prescription medication coverage, is not so good. My husband works for a company that employs a large portion of the population where we live, and I knew these changes would be affecting all of their employees to some degree.

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I was thinking about this, and how much of a headache it was going to be for me when I went to my pharmacy to get my prescriptions refilled. I am very familiar with the entire pharmacy staff, as I have been using that pharmacy for most of my life. We started chatting, and I told one of the pharmacists that he needed to brace himself because big changes in the group policy were going to be coming up. He sighed, shook his head, and asked what I could tell him. I told him the details of the policy my husband and I had chosen, and he just closed his eyes for a moment. He said that when refills started coming in, he was going to have many unhappy customers. I had figured as much, but had not realized it would be as bad as he soon described.

He told me that every time there is a mass change in insurance benefits, whether from private companies or Medicaid and Medicare, they have very stressful days. Apparently, because many of the policy documents are extremely long, and often complex, the customer doesn’t always read all the way through their explanation of new benefits. Then when they visit the pharmacy and their bill is significantly higher, or the medication they had previously been taking is no longer covered, they often become irate at the pharmacist or sales clerk ringing up the order. Because the pharmacists and staff at my pharmacy are so nice, they usually try to help explain changes to customers. If they notice a significant difference in price, or what is and is not covered, they will try to get the information so they can go over it with the customer when they come in. Of course, this is not always possible, but they do have the phone number for the insurance company’s customer service line for all of their clients in case they are not able to explain the changes.

I could not believe they go to such lengths to help their customers. This is what I call going far beyond a job description. It continues to amaze me how much the pharmacy staff is willing to do for their customers. I am sure my pharmacy is not unique in their desire to help their customers; however, I am not certain that all pharmacists think about what they may need to do for their customers before they begin preparing for their future career. Being a pharmacist is more than making sure the right medications go to the right person, and that those medications that shouldn’t be mixed are not. It is also about caring for the customer as an individual and making a difference in their lives when possible.

Are you ready to go the extra mile?

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