November 03, 2008

Twice the Stupidity – Half the Price

“Same bottle. Same medication. Same pharmacy. So why does one bottle cost 50% less?” This was the ad copy printed above a photo of two orange prescription pill bottles on a glossy mailer I found in my mailbox. It was sent to me by my insurer, United Healthcare. Inside the mailer is a description of United Healthcare’s inane Half Tablet Program:

1. Your doctor writes a new prescription for twice the strength and half the quantity, noting your intent to split the tablets on your prescription.

2. Fill the prescription, automatically paying only half your usual co-payment.

3. Split each tablet and take half—you get your usual supply for half the cost.

Excuse me, but was the legal department on vacation the month United Healthcare created this program? Is their goal to increase the risk of improper dosing?

The Half Tablet Program is clearly not about helping patients, but rather about cost savings for United Healthcare. (Remember, this program gives them a smaller tab to pick up too.) Can I fault them for wanting to save on the exorbitant costs of prescription drugs? No. But certainly they can find saner and safer ways to coerce savings than asking patients to chop our meds in half.

Let’s eliminate half of the Barbie Doll drug reps trolling through doctors’ offices carting cases of samples. Let’s slash pharma CEOs’ pay in half. There are all kinds of solutions to reduce the cost of medication. Putting my health at risk by whacking my prescription pills in half is not one of them. Did I mention that if you act now United Healthcare will send you a free plastic pill splitter? Enticing. But I still think I’ll pass.

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  1. MissHum22 Says:
    November 3rd, 2008 at 8:37 PM

    That is about as horrific and scary as John McCain’s “Here’s 5 grand – good luck!” plan.

    Thanks for the kind words about my Aunt. We have a lot of the big C on both sides of the family, so it is a disease that I hate to have so near and dear to my heart.

    Love your blog – I hope you have great success with your book! Take care of yourself.

  2. lisa f. Says:
    November 4th, 2008 at 7:15 AM

    oh good god!!!!

  3. Anonymous Says:
    November 5th, 2008 at 3:25 PM

    Other thoughts on how to save on health care costs, brought to you by your insurance company:

    a) “diagnose” yourself!

    b) “diagnose” your spouse, partner, and children, yourself!

    c) after you are diagnosed, don’t go to the doctor!

    d) essentially, continue to pay your premiums but never get sick!

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