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How To Try A New Medication In 100 Easy Steps! (Because If We Don’t Laugh, We’ll Cry)

Ready to try a new medication? Just follow these 100 easy steps and you’ll be giving it a try it in no time! (Since this is only a slight exaggeration, I hope we can all laugh about it together! Otherwise we’ll cry for sure!)

  1. Decide to try a new medication.
  2. Call your insurance company.
  3. Listen to a long message.
  4. Press 3.
  5. Listen to another long message.
  6. Press 1.
  7. Wait on hold.
  8. Wait on hold some more.
  9. Finally reach a human.
  10. Ask if the medication is covered.
  11. Get placed on hold again.
  12. Get an answer.
  13. If the answer is no, cry a little and go back to step 1.
  14. If the answer is yes, find out that you will need prior authorization from your doctor.
  15. Call your doctor and give them the number to submit the prior authorization.
  16. Call your insurance company back.
  17. Listen to a long message.
  18. Press 3.
  19. Listen to another long message.
  20. Press 1.
  21. Wait on hold.
  22. Wait on hold some more.
  23. Finally reach a human.
  24. Ask how much the new medication will cost.
  25. Find out the medication falls into a specialty tier, which will make it extremely expensive.
  26. Cry a little.
  27. Research co-pay assistance programs.
  28. Call the co-pay assistance program.
  29. Be surprised when an actual human answers the phone.
  30. Ask about whether or not you qualify to enroll.
  31. If you don’t qualify, cry a little. Decide whether you will be able to afford the expense without assistance. If not, go back to step 1.
  32. If you qualify, rejoice that the medication may be somewhat affordable.
  33. Listen to the agent read a bunch of disclaimers.
  34. Agree to the disclaimers because it’s the only way to afford the medication.
  35. Give them a bunch of personal information.
  36. Listen to a delightful reading of the risks and possible negative side effects you may have to look forward to.
  37. After your co-pay assistance card is finally activated, take a nap because by this point you are certainly exhausted.
  38. Later, call your insurance company back to find out which pharmacy you need to use.
  39. Listen to a long message.
  40. Press 3.
  41. Listen to another long message.
  42. Press 1.
  43. Wait on hold.
  44. Wait on hold some more.
  45. Finally reach a human.
  46. Find out that you need to use a specialty pharmacy.
  47. Call your doctor and give them the number for the specialty pharmacy.
  48. Call the specialty pharmacy to set up delivery of your new medication.
  49. Press 9.
  50. Press 3.
  51. Wait on hold.
  52. Wait on hold some more.
  53. Finally reach a human.
  54. Despite following the prompts correctly, be informed that you have somehow reached the billing department.
  55. Ask to be transferred.
  56. Wait on hold some more.
  57. Finally reach the correct human.
  58. Find out that the prior authorization hasn’t gone through yet.
  59. Call your doctor to ask about the prior authorization.
  60. Leave a message.
  61. Wait for a response.
  62. If you’re lucky, your doctor’s nurse will assure you that the prior authorization has already been sent.
  63. If you’re unlucky go back to step 59.
  64. Call the specialty pharmacy back.
  65. Press 9.
  66. Press 3.
  67. Wait on hold.
  68. Wait on hold some more.
  69. While waiting, listen to a recording about how much the pharmacy cares about you.
  70. Finally reach a human.
  71. Be informed that the prior authorization still has not gone through.
  72. Insist that your doctor already sent it.
  73. Be told to call back tomorrow.
  74. Call back the next day.
  75. Press 9.
  76. Press 3.
  77. Wait on hold.
  78. Wait on hold some more.
  79. Finally reach a human.
  80. If you are lucky, find out that the specialty pharmacy has finally found your prior authorization.
  81. If you are unlucky, go back to step 59.
  82. Pick a date for delivery of your new medication.
  83. The pharmacy will ask whether you will be available to sign for the medication.
  84. Ask what time the medication will be delivered.
  85. The pharmacy will not be able to give you a time at all.
  86. Decide to risk liability if the medication is lost or stolen because you can’t afford to wait around all day for it to arrive.
  87. The pharmacy will ask for a credit card to charge you the extremely expensive co-pay.
  88. Give them the co-pay assistance information instead.
  89. It won’t work.
  90. Call the co-pay assistance program back.
  91. Ask what information the pharmacy actually needs.
  92. Call the specialty pharmacy back.
  93. Press 9.
  94. Press 3.
  95. Wait on hold.
  96. Wait on hold some more.
  97. Finally reach a human.
  98. Go through all the same information you went through on your previous calls.
  99. At long last, actually order your new medication.
  100. Cross your fingers that it actually arrives.

Congratulations! It’s a simple as that! Now all you have to do is wait two months to see if the medication actually works! If not, go back to step 1.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • rhonda
    5 years ago

    I love this….this is so true. One of the reasons I put off starting a new biologic. I know its time to try something new but the thought of going through this will send me into a flare for sure. Thanks for the laugh:)

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator author
    5 years ago

    Hi Rhonda~ I’m about to start this process YET AGAIN and I figure if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry! Hang in there and remember that we are here to support you!

  • Kelly Mack moderator
    5 years ago

    Mariah, this is brilliant and hilarious! I just wish it wasn’t so true! Arg!

  • Wren moderator
    5 years ago

    And of course we know that you actually didn’t exaggerate much at all. I laughed and cried, Mariah. What a shame we have to go through this sort of ridiculousness for treatment.

  • Kellie
    5 years ago

    I have been very fortunate. My doctors office deals with pre authorization and the mail order pharmacy. I did find out with Ebrel that you can get it at WalMart. They will order it for you. Also, if you are on Medicare you may qualify for extra help with your prescriptions.

    So sorry to hear about all the stress getting medications causes. Not good for the RA.

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator author
    5 years ago

    Hi Kellie~ I’m so glad that you have been able to secure your medication without additional stress. WalMart does seem like an easy option – unfortunately it won’t be one that is available for everyone. For example, my insurance requires me to get Enbrel through a particular specialty pharmacy. So if I have trouble with the pharmacy I have no choice but to deal with it if I want to take my medication. So frustrating and you are right – not good for the RA!
    ~Mariah~ (Site Moderator)

  • Kim
    5 years ago

    Boy, did you ever nail this! It shouldn’t have to be this difficult, but it really is…

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator author
    5 years ago

    I know, right? ~;o)

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