Friday, January 27, 2017

Change can be good but also stressful

   January 1st brought with it a change in my insurance. It was a much needed change but it has included a lot of stress as well. 
   As 2016 came to a close, I saw my Kaiser oncologist for the last time, received an infusion of Zometa, got another month of Zytiga, and had nurse ratchet give me my last Lupron injection at the Kaiser nurse treatment center. I scheduled an appointment with my new oncologist and obtained a referral for a new urologist at Providence Cancer Center in Portland, Oregon. Thinking I had all my ducks in a row, I took a vacation over Christmas and settled in to enjoy the holidays and some much needed time off work.
   As it turns out I should have been just a tad more diligent. I didn't understand how the new insurance worked. I was use to Kaiser Permanente. It's a cold hearted comparison but Kaiser is a lot like Walmart. (The good part) Kaiser is one stop healthcare. On a typical Kaiser appointment, I would arrive half an hour early, give blood to the vampires, stop off at nurse treatment for a Lupron shot, limp down to Oncology, see the oncologist, get my Zometa infusion, harass the M.A, as well as the pharmacy staff, (in a good way) and pick up my prescriptions on my way out the door. A few hours later, my blood tests would be posted online.
   I guess that after being with Kaiser for 15 years, I assumed the new system would be comparable.

   I saw my doctor on the 23rd. Prescription written, blood work done, results came back yesterday. All is good. PSA is in the basement.  Actually it is under the concrete floor in the basement. Doing great. On Wednesday, February 2, I will be out of medication. My Zytiga bottle will be empty. I am still awaiting financial authorization for the prescription to be faxed to the pharmacy. The pharmacy said it will take up to two weeks for the drug to be delivered once they receive the prescription. I am losing my mind at the moment. 
   I compared Kaiser to Walmart. In many ways it is a fair comparison. One stop shopping, convenience, efficiency. All very good qualities. I do not regret the move to Providence but I do wish I had done more research and gotten the wheels turning before the first of the year. At least that would take the stress out of the learning curve. 

This last paragraph is an update. As it turns out all my stress was for nothing. Some very good people went to bat for me and my medication will arrive before I take my last dose. My co-pay was $1500 for the first month supply. I have to give kudos to the staff at Providence cancer center for taking the initiative to get me a coupon for co-pay assistance. I will pay $10 of the $1500 that I am responsible for. Have a great weekend people best regards. Todd

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