Dealing with the medical bureaucracy

Is rather like screaming into a swirling black void of fail.

Here’s how the story goes:

In April, my physician prescribes Zolpidem (aka Ambien) for me, which I take 1-2 times a week for sleeping issues. I have been taking this for ten years or so, with no problems. A few days ago, in June, I go to pick it up and am told the insurance company won’t pay for it. Then I get a letter from Aetna, my Medicare advantage Plan provider, telling me I should try something called Doxepin instead. I looked at the side effects and decided I ain’t taking that shit. And why, in the name of Asclepius, is an insurance company telling my doctor what he should prescribe? And why didn’t they tell me this two months ago?

So I called Aetna and after twice having to navigate that nightmare phone menu (the first agent’s headset did not appear to work and they hung up), I finally got through to an agent, who tells me that, “Sure, your doctor prescribed it, but then they need to call us and pre-authorize what he already prescribed for some dumb-ass reason that makes absolutely no sense.” (I summarize.) It takes very little time to realize I am going nowhere with these folks, so I decide not to waste anymore of whatever time I have left on this Earth, thank the nice lady and move on.

So I’m going to pay for the medication. It’s not that expensive and there are other fights more worthy of my valuable time.

Suck it Aetna. I really don’t care that much.