Magazine article Drug Topics

Persona Non Grata

Magazine article Drug Topics

Persona Non Grata

Article excerpt

I don't have to pay that much," the woman said, standing up straight and folding her arms across her chest as if she believed that a show of stubbornness would make us lower the price. The pharmacy clerk had just told her that her five prescriptions totaled over $150. The clerk was used to customers complaining about price. She glanced at me and politely repeated the total. "Those are the correct prices," she added.

"Not for me," the woman said. She began to dig frantically in her purse, piling its contents across the counter. She tsk'd and hummed. Finally a plastic card emerged, and the woman said triumphantly, "I have a co-pay."

Oh my goodness, how stupid of us. She said the magic word- copay. Stop everything! Give her the prescriptions for $2 each, apologize for any inconvenience, and thank her for shopping at our store. This, I think, is what some people expect when they say the word co-pay.

How are we supposed to know that customers have insurance if they don't tell us? This has happened to all of you at one time or another. You spend the time filling customers' prescriptions, and then, when you're all done, they present their insurance card. Usually they are smug about it and play dumb when you tell them that you need to see the card before you fill their prescriptions.

This woman was everyone's nightmare customer. "I've already waited for almost a half-hour," she complained. "Why do I have to wait another 10 minutes?" The pharmacy technician had just told her we had to redo all of her Rxs through the computer to bill her insurance.

"We need to see your insurance card before we fill your prescriptions."

Her eyes widened. "You mean I am supposed to give you the card when I drop off the prescriptions?"

Good God, woman. Don't you get it? We aren't mind readers. You have to tell us that you have insurance. …

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