Monday, December 01, 2014

Getting medication in Lebanon vs. in the United States

I've been somewhat ill for the past several weeks. During that time I moved to a new house, ran a 10k, flew to Turkey for ten days, and had lots of smaller but still exhausting adventures. It seems it has finally caught up with me, though. After another night of not being able to sleep, blowing blood out of my nose and coughing up nasty colored phlegm, I paid a visit to my street's pharmacy to see what they could do for me. I'm feeling slightly better already, but intend to spend the next few days laying low. So, since I have some time now, I figured I might pause and reflect the experience of getting basic medication in Lebanon versus in the United States. I am not going to make any judgments on which system is better––I'm sure they both have pros and cons. I will just attempt to chronicle the steps involved as I have now experienced them in both places.

United States:


Call doctor's office and say to receptionist: "I've had recurring cold symptoms for the past four weeks and just started coughing greenish tinged phlegm."

Receptionist gives you appointment.

Drive to doctor's office.

Talk to receptionist. Spend five minutes updating insurance information.

Sit in waiting room for interminable period of time.

Get ushered into exam room by nurse. Tell nurse "I've had recurring cold symptoms for the past four weeks and just started coughing greenish tinged phlegm."

Nurse takes weight and height and blood-pressure measurements. Asks about current medications and allergies. Leaves.

Wait for interminable amount of time.

Doctor comes in, tell doctor: "I've had recurring cold symptoms for the past four weeks and just started coughing greenish tinged phlegm."

Doctor takes mucous sample. Sends to lab.

Wait for interminable amount of time.

Doctor comes back, writes prescription for antibiotic.

Go to billing desk. Billing desk talks to insurance. Find out since this is your first visit all year, deductible has not been met.

Pay $127.00.

Ask billing desk if this includes lab work. Billing desk says no, even though lab work is done in same building, the staff are from regional hospital, so billing handled separately and you should check with insurance company to see the claim.

Drive to pharmacy.

Give prescription slip to attendant.

Wander around Walmart for interminable amount of time.

While waiting, decide to buy a decongestant. Ask pharmacist for decongestant.

Give pharmacist ID to photocopy, sign twice and fax to DEA.

Wait for interminable period of time.

Get approval to buy decongestant.

Continue wandering around Walmart.

Prescription filled. Take to check out. Spend five minutes giving insurance information. $14.00 decongestant was not prescription, so insurance will not cover it. $16.00 antibiotic was, but deductible still not met.

Pay $30.00.

Drive home.

Go online to check status of lab-work claim.

Claim is $370.00.

Call insurance company and ask for explanation of benefits.

Call hospital and ask for itemized invoice.

Spend next two months fighting with both of them.

Lebanon:


Walk up street to pharmacy.

Tell pharmacist: "I've had recurring cold symptoms for the past four weeks and just started coughing greenish tinged phlegm."

Pharmacist hands you antibiotic and decongestant. Explains when and how to take it.

Pay $30.

Walk home.





1 comment:

Paige Elizabeth said...

Why does this have to be so accurate?